Boeing 747 Spotting Guide


The Boeing 747 is a wide-body, 4-engine commercial jet airliner and cargo aircraft, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies.

Its unique "hump" upper deck along the forward part of the aircraft makes it among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and it was the first wide-body produced.

Manufactured by Boeing's Commercial Airplane unit in the United States, the original version of the 747 was envisioned to have 150% greater capacity than the Boeing 707.

Background and Development

The four-engine 747 uses a double deck configuration for part of its length. It is available in passenger, freighter and other versions.

The 747 entered service in January of 1970 on Pan Am's New York–London route.

After the initial 747-100 model, Boeing developed the -100B, a higher maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) variant, and the -100SR (Short Range), with higher passenger capacity.

The -200 model followed in 1971, featuring more powerful engines and a higher MTOW. Passenger, freighter and combination passenger-freighter versions of the -200 were produced.

The shortened 747SP (Special Performance) with a longer range entered service in 1976.

The 747 line was further developed with the launch of the 747-300, followed by the 747-400 in 1989.

Boeing announced another 747 variant, the 747-8, in late 2005. Referred to as the 747 Advanced prior to its launch, the 747-8 uses the same engine and cockpit technology as the Boeing 787, hence the use of the "8" in the model number. Models include the 747-8i (Intercontinental) and 747-8F (Freighter).

Boeing 747 Spotting Guide

The wide-body Boeing 747-400 is an easy spot with its bulbous front fuselage, four engines under the wings, one full deck the length of the fuselage, and one partial deck on the front.
See more Boeing 747 photographs and spotting tips
Boeing 747 spotting guide

 

Boeing 747 Photographs

Boeing 747 rollout on September 30, 1968, at the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington
Boeing 747 Rollout

The first Boeing 747-121, the "City of Everett", now on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington (Staff Photo)
The first Boeing 747

Qantas Boeing 747-200, with its 10 windows on the upper deck


Ansett Australia Boeing 747-300 featuring a stretched upper deck


All Nippon Airlines Boeing 747-400, similar to the 747-300, but distinguished by its winglets
All Nippon Airlines Boeing 747-400, similar to the 747-300, but distinguished by its winglets

British Airways Boeing 747-400
British Airways Boeing 747-400

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I

Bahrain Air Boeing 747-SP (Special Performance)
Identified by its short fuselage and large tail
Bahrain Air Boeing 747-SP

The U.S. Air Force operates a pair of Boeing 747-200B jets modified for use by the President of the United States, and identified as the Boeing VC-25 (see photo below).
On order now are two new aircraft replacements for use as Air Force One, both a modified 747-8.
Boeing VC-25 - Air Force One - Modified 747


Boeing 747s Parked at Aircraft Storage Facilities

Jetliners in storage at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport in the Arizona desertJetliners in storage at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport in the Arizona desert (Staff photo)

Commercial airliners have limited lifespans, even the mighty Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Ultimately, they must be retired from service, stored in "airplane boneyards" or graveyards, and finally dismantled and scrapped.

Jetliners eventually reach end-of-life due to airframe wear and/or obsolescence. Some jetliners are temporarily taken off flying status, and must be stored in a environment that is conducive to preservation. Others are kept for spare parts for flying aircraft.

To protect airliners during their storage from wind and sun damage, engines and windows are tightly covered with white, reflective materials. A sealed airliner can thus be stored safely, for years, until the time comes to return it to active duty, or salvage. Eventually, all airliners are removed permanently from service and must be "disposed" of.

Active airliner boneyards of today and military airplane boneyards after World War II ... maps, photographs, tours and more ... visit there now!

We have spotted and photographed a variety of jet airliners at several airline boneyards in the western United States, including:

  • Mojave Airport in California
  • Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) in Victorville, California
  • Pinal Airpark near Tucson, Arizona
  • Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Arizona

Also included is information on airplane boneyards in Europe, Australia and other locations around the world.

... and view photos of commercial airliner boneyards at www.AirplaneBoneyards.com

Boeing 747 of GE Aircraft Engines, registration number N747GE, parked at the Southern California Logistics Airport near Victorville, CA (Staff Photo)
View similar photos at AirplaneBoneyards.com
Boeing 747 (F-GSKY) parked at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Arizona

Boeing 747 (F-GSKY) parked at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Arizona (Staff Photo)
View similar photos at AirplaneBoneyards.com
Boeing 747 of GE Aircraft Engines, registration number N747GE, at the Southern California Logistics Airport

Boeing 747, B-2453, on the tarmac at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (Staff Photo)
View similar photos at AirplaneBoneyards.com
Boeing 747, B-2453, on the tarmac at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona

Evergreen International Boeing 747s at the Pinal Airpark near Tucson, Arizona (Staff Photo)
View similar photos at AirplaneBoneyards.com
Evergreen International Boeing 747s at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona