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Long live the queen of the skies – the final 747 flies away from the Boeing factory : AirlineReporter

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The last-ever 747, N863GT, departs from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on its delivery flight.
The last-ever 747, N863GT, departs from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on its delivery flight

It’s the end of an era, one that revolutionized travel and brought the world closer together. After the Feb. 1, 2023 delivery of the last 747 built – a 747-8F registered as N863GT to Atlas Air – no new 747s will ever again depart from Boeing’s manufacturing plant in Everett, Washington.

Every AvGeek knows the story of the 747. Designed and built by the Incredibles – the group of engineers and mechanics and line workers who, in the late 1960s, created an unusual-looking airplane that would, in its way, change the world.

Thousands of Boeing employees, visitors, and guests fill the enormous manufacturing plant that housed the 747 assembly line.
Thousands of Boeing employees, visitors, and guests fill the enormous manufacturing plant that housed the 747 assembly line

Boeing held a two-day event to commemorate the delivery of the final 747, to Atlas Air. Thousands of people were in attendance for the event, filling a section of the former 747 assembly line, which is being dismantled and the space repurposed.

Parts of the vast complex will be converted to a fourth 737 line to augment Boeing’s Renton, Wash., plant, which, until the new line starts up, currently builds all 737s.

Atlas Air's new 787-8F received a traditional water-cannon salute as it left Boeing's delivery ramp
Atlas Air’s new 747-8F received a traditional water-cannon salute as it left Boeing’s delivery ramp

The 747 program began in 1965, with Joe Sutter at the design helm. The prototype rolled out of the then-new factory in 1968.

Desi Evans was one of the team of Incredibles who worked to build the very first 747, and many subsequent iterations of the jetliner
Desi Evans was one of the team of Incredibles who worked to build the very first 747, and many subsequent iterations of the jetliner

The first flight was on February 9, 1969, and the 747 earned FAA certification in December of that same year. The 747 then entered service with Pan Am on January 22, 1970.

After departing, the jet swung back for a low pass over the runway, delighting spectators
After departing, the jet swung back for a low pass over the runway, delighting spectators. A 777x is parked to the left

Boeing produced 1,574 747s over the life of the program.

Joe Sutter, who's credited with designing the 747, is recognized on a decal on the aircraft's right side
Joe Sutter, who’s credited with designing the 747, is recognized on a decal on the aircraft’s right side

Sutter was also a key player in the designs of the Boeing 367-80 “Dash 80,” the 707, 727, and 737.

Despite the quad-engine jet’s many versions over its nearly 60-year production run, the basic silhouette didn’t change.

On its way to Cincinnati, the 747’s flight plan included a 747 crown pattern over Eastern Washington – Image: Atlas Air

The delivery flight’s playback can be found here on Flightradar24.

Attendees recorded the opening of the giant hangar doors for the reveal of the jet at the end of the event
Attendees recorded the opening of the giant hangar doors for the reveal of the jet at the end of the event

The event was part eulogy, part celebration, and a sendoff for a new jet that will transport cargo for decades into the future.

As the jet departed, the pilot waved the wings
As the jet departed, the pilot waved the wings several times in farewell

EDITOR-AT-LARGE / DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – SEATTLE, WA Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural, aerial, aviation, and commercial photographer, a freelance photojournalist, and a confirmed AvGeek.

https://www.zeraphoto.com



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