Reduced to a cargo plane today, this was probably the most important plane ever designed, developed and put into production.
I flew on one once, maybe twice.
It was first produced before I was born and flown commercially in the year of my birth. Its production has stopped, with the last plane being shipped to Atlas Air as a cargo plane.
One thousand five hundred seventy-four planes were produced, and less than 4% were lost in accidents or incidents that put them beyond repair—a formidable record.
Of the 61 lost, only 32 resulted in a loss of life. Less than 2%. That’s a lot of safe air miles.
Sadly, however, when they did crash, it usually ended in significant losses of life. Holding the record for the highest death toll of any civil aviation accident, the highest death toll of any single aeroplane accident, and the highest death toll of a midair collision simultaneously, we’re unlikely to see another plane like it.
So long, 747.
19 December 2022 — French West Indies