Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet: The aircraft that changed the world
In the early days of commercial airline transport, air travel saw a large increase in travellers and airport congestion rising in the 1960s. This era of commercial airline travel was led by the enormous popularity of the Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8, both of which had revolutionized the standard for long-distance travel. With the increase of commercial airline passengers and the relatively small aircrafts available at the time, airport congestion was becoming a major problem in the industry. Juan Trippe, of Pan Am (Pan American World Airways), one of the Boeing’s most important airline customers thought this problem could be addressed by a newer and larger aircraft.
在商业航空运输的早期阶段，因航空旅行导致的拥堵情况，在20世纪60年代大幅增加。这个商业航空旅行的时代是由波音707和道格拉斯DC-8的巨大普及引领的，这两者都彻底改变了长途旅行的标准。随着商用航空公司乘客和当时可用的相对较小的飞机的增加，机场拥堵成为该行业的主要问题。来自Pan Am（泛美航空公司）的Juan Trippe是波音最重要的航空公司客户之一，他们认为这个问题可以通过制造更新更大的飞机解决。
During the summer of 1965 on a quiet fishing trip in Alaska, Bill Allen of Boeing and Juan Trippe of Pan Am, the two biggest names in the aviation industry at the time, Trippe told Allen of his vision for a super plane. Trippe wanted an aircraft that was two and a half times larger than any other passenger aircraft that had ever existed before. Both Trippe and Allen were reaching retirement, and both wanted to leave their mark in the aviation industry. It was at this point when the birth story of the Boeing 747 began and would change the aviation industry forever.
1965年夏天，在阿拉斯加安静的钓鱼之旅中，波音公司的 Bill Allen 和泛美航空公司的 Juan Trippe（当时是航空业的两大知名人士）， Trippe 告诉 Allen他对超级飞机的看法。 Trippe 想要的飞机，比以前所有的客机大两倍半。当时，Trippe和Allen都退休了，他们都想在航空业留下自己的印记。正是在这一时刻，波音747的诞生故事才开始，并将永远改变航空业。
In April 1966, Trippe had signed for an order for 25 of the newly proposed super jets and for them to be called the 747. This was one the largest aircraft orders ever to be made in history. This costs for this order at the time came to a total of approximately US$525 million dollars which translates to a value of a staggering US$4.2 billion dollars today. Allen had also agreed that Trippe could have his order in just a mere 28 months. This had set an almost impossible challenge for Boeing’s engineers to complete.
Joe Sutter, a young aeronautical engineer whom graduated from the University of Washington in 1943 was transferred from Boeing’s 737 development team to lead and manage the team for the development and design of the new 747 as the Chief Engineer. This was Sutter’s first big break as an engineer. With a small team of only 20 members, Sutter and his team were required to go through preliminary studies for this aircraft which provided them with their first challenge for the development of the 747 as at the time all they knew was that the aircraft had to be bigger, have good range and go as fast as possible. Back then, Sutter was only a junior engineer in the company and often faced a hostile reception from the more senior engineers of the company. Despite the size of the project Sutter and his team were facing and how they were working around the clock, they were still not Boeing’s number one priority. At the time, the development of the 747 was overshadowed by the development of a supersonic transport aircraft in which Boeing believed would be the future of the aviation industry. This meant that Boeing’s best talent and resources was directed into the development of this aircraft.
A supersonic transport aircraft that was designed to travel at three times the speed of sound and to compete with its European supersonic rival, Concorde, which was also in its development stage. When the supersonic transport aircraft was to be completed and come into service, Boeing’s 747 would then be relegated to shipping freight. This influenced the design of the 747 so that it be adapted easily to carry freight and heavy cargo and to remain in production even if the sales of the passenger version were to decline. Because of this, the 747 was almost expected to be an afterthought and Boeing didn’t expect for more than 50 of the 747s to be made and until the supersonic aircraft was completed, the 747 was playing second fiddle the whole time. This lead to Sutter and his team being shoved into old premises and starved of resources making their challenge even more difficult than before.