On Sept. 30, 1968, the first Boeing 747 rolled out of its custom-built assembly plant in Everett, Washington. From the beginning, everything about the plane once known as the “queen of the skies” was big.
The 747 had its maiden flight on Feb. 9, 1969, and entered service with Pan American World Airways in January 1970. A British Airways 747 boosted by strong tailwinds broke the subsonic speed record for a transatlantic crossing between New York and London in February, completing the trip in just under five hours, according to Flightradar24.
Dubbed "the Incredibles", some 50,000 mechanics and engineers built what was then the world's largest civilian airplane in roughly 16 months.
The current version is the 747-8, a 410-seater with a range of 8,000 nautical miles (14,815 km), launched in 2005.
After customisation and installation of classified systems, the two aircraft are due to be delivered by December 2024, painted red, white and blue