It’s bittersweet milestone for the people at Boeing who were involved in the design and the production of the 747. The Queen of the Skies, the royal moniker given to the Boeing 747 fleet will be off the manufacturer catalog in the United States.
The first 747 hit the sky all the way back in 1969 at the time when the demand of people travelling from one continent to another was high. The plane was also the symbol of America’s power and influence especially during the Cold War era. The plane was used as the test-bed for the upcoming of the 777 project that Boeing embarked in the 90s.
When it debuted in 1989, the 747-400 was a world beater. Already on its fourth generation, the jumbo could fly up to 7,200 nautical miles and airlines flocked to it for its ability to fly non-stop to and from Asia from the U.S. and Europe even if they couldn’t fill the roughly 400 seats aboard.
Korean Air is amid the last clients to order the 747.
And of course, the most recognizable 747 of them all, Air Force One, continues on for U.S. presidents.
When Tesla introduced the self-driving mode in its line of cars, they called it “Autopilot”. The “Autopilot” is term that is quite frequent in the aviation and it has been used in that field ever since. But the American manufacturer is going even further, this time, Boeing wants to replace the pilot skills and makes its line of airplanes fully autonomous.
Well, the technology is not yet ready for the primetime as Boeing is holding a briefing ahead of Paris Airshow to details its plan for the fully autonomous cruising plane for the cockpit free run entirely by computers. Existing autopilot technology will handle the taxing and take off process. And Boeing’s goal is to get the technology up to the strict aviation safety standards.
It is said that Boeing will go through a battery of simulations this summer with hopes of taking its tech to a real-life planes as early as next year.
However, what keep the manufacturer’s fear in check is pilot error is one of the leading causes of modern plane crashes. And Boeing knows its technology needs to be bulletproof for people to buy it.