FLLDTW744
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How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:38 pm

Hey guys, just a quick simple question....how high can a 747 fly?
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MD11LuxuryLinr
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:49 pm

Quoting FLLDTW744 (Thread starter):
how high can a 747 fly?

Which one?
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FLLDTW744
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:54 pm

a 747-400...whats the altitude limit
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UNDBoeingNut
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:14 pm

I would assume it would be between 45,000 and 60,000 feet, but this is speculation because I am sure that it depends heavily at those altitudes on OAT, density altitude, pressure altitude, weight, etc... All aircraft performance variables. Hope that helps...most places I looked at say that it is unknown...I wouldn't really wanna be the one that tries to get this bird to go as high as it can then just to guess what it does when it loses speed and stalls out at the top... Wink
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antiuser
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:24 pm

If I recall correctly, the service ceiling of the B744 is FL410 (41.000 ft), but of course that depends on weather/environmental characteristics.
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PhilSquares
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:42 pm

Quoting FLLDTW744 (Reply 2):
a 747-400...whats the altitude limit

Certificated ceiling is 45,100'. Won't do it after a MTOW takeoff.
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UNDBoeingNut
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:44 pm

I did a quick check and a few different websites listed the service ceiling at 41,000 and another few at 45,000...take your pick couldn't find anything on Boeing.com but I occationally have to root around for things on that website....anyway
AE
 
PhilSquares
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:48 pm

I only have about 8000 hours PIC on the 400, so I'd think my response should just about cover the answer.
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GQfluffy
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:51 pm

I thought I heard somewhere that when a 744 is at MTOW, it usually can't climb beyond 35,000 until they start burning off that fuel....
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cfalk
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:16 pm

I've heard of 747-SPs that topped 51,000 feet, high enough to provoke problems of fuel freezing in the wing tanks.
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sevenheavy
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:16 pm

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 8):
thought I heard somewhere that when a 744 is at MTOW, it usually can't climb beyond 35,000 until they start burning off that fuel....

If a B744 is opertating at MTOW its optimum initial cruise altiude is more likely to be in the region of FL290-330, depending on conditions. The aircraft will then step climb as it burns off fuel/weight.

Bear in mind that at any weight the aircraft will have a "maximum" and "optimum" cruise altitude.

In "normal" passenger operations you would be very unlikely to fly higher than around FL410, although very rarely up to FL430 is used if conditions permit.

This is just some addiotional information. As PhilSquares stated the actual maximum certified altitude is 45,100ft.

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StevenUhl777
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:25 pm

I don't believe it's in service anymore by any major airlines, but the 747SP cruised at FL550 to FL600. It was designed to fly at those altitudes and achieved it's performance specs. by doing so. Much longer range as a result.
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AerospaceFan
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:34 pm

Wow! FL600! That's pretty high up.

A certain converted airliner has been used to launch rockets into space, serving as a "first stage", so to speak. If the 747 can get up to FL600, I should think that it would be a pretty good first stage for a rocket. I don't remember if the converted airliner was a 747, though.
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StevenUhl777
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:41 pm

Don't hold me to FL600 on the SP...I thought it could cruise that high, but the more I think about it, it was probably closer to FL540 or 550.

Concorde on the other hand easily did FL550-FL600, but of course we're talkinb about a completely different airframe and powerplant.
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AerospaceFan
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:48 pm

Quoting StevenUhl777 (Reply 13):
Don't hold me to FL600 on the SP...I thought it could cruise that high, but the more I think about it, it was probably closer to FL540 or 550.

No problem. It did sound a bit high, since I've always thought of airliner altitudes as around FL300 to FL400. In fact, I've always been impressed by the USAF F-15's max ceiling, which is around 60K ft., as I recall.

BTW, the F-15 has also been used as an A-Sat (anti-satellite missile) platform.

I guess the only more impressive aircraft (besides the X-15 and similar aircraft) from the standpoint of altitude would be the USAF (Lockheed) SR-71 Blackbird, which basically goes to near-space. (Although, I do remember reading that a Soviet-era interceptor (MiG-25 Foxbat, I think) could reach up to 100K ft., which isn't shabby, either.)

[Edited 2005-12-23 07:49:58]

[Edited 2005-12-23 07:56:48]
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StevenUhl777
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:56 pm

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 14):
I guess the only more impressive aircraft (besides the X-15 and similar aircraft) from the standpoint of altitude would be the USAF (Lockheed) SR-71 Blackbird, which basically goes to near-space

Don't know about the LA area, but if you're ever in the Portland (PDX) area, be sure to check out the Evergreen Air Museum on Hwy. 18 in McMinnville, about an hour southwest of the city. They have an SR-71 there that you can walk around. THAT is an amazing airplane, bar none. That airplane alone probably is on the top #3 list for reasons we won the Cold War.
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AerospaceFan
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:01 pm

Quoting StevenUhl777 (Reply 15):
They have an SR-71 there that you can walk around. THAT is an amazing airplane, bar none. That airplane alone probably is on the top #3 list for reasons we won the Cold War.

The Blackbird is like something out of Star Wars! In fact, Star Wars might have been influenced by its radical design.

Heck, if the Skunk Works could have built the Blackbird in secret, maybe those rumors about a Mach 6 Aurora are true. Who knows?

Thanks for the tip concerning the museum! Sounds great.

Still, as a civvie, I'm much more likely to fly in a Triple 777, a 747, or even an Airbus than an SR-71.  Wink

Which raises the question -- I wonder if, ten or fifteen years from now, if/when we develop the next SST, we'll finally be able to reach near-space as passengers. They keep on talking about hypersonic passenger vehicles, but it seems that, constantly, it's nothing but talk.

Oh well.
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Starlionblue
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sat Dec 24, 2005 8:51 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 16):
Heck, if the Skunk Works could have built the Blackbird in secret, maybe those rumors about a Mach 6 Aurora are true. Who knows?

Going way OT here. Anyway I'm all for Aurora being possible, but I just wonder where they would hide the cost. It's one thing saying "black" in the budget, it's quite another hiding the kind of sums we would probably be talking.
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sat Dec 24, 2005 9:02 am

Related question: I know it could be classified, but maybe it's not. At what altitude can a VC-25A cruise (if necessary)?


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PhilSquares
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sat Dec 24, 2005 10:10 am

Quoting StevenUhl777 (Reply 11):
I don't believe it's in service anymore by any major airlines, but the 747SP cruised at FL550 to FL600

Not even close! I have about 500 hours in the SP and can't remember what it's ceiling was, but that wasn't it! IIRC, it was 45100 too, but don't hold me to that.

Someone mentioned fuel freezing. Actually, it's a occurance in all the 747s.
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sat Dec 24, 2005 11:52 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 14):
BTW, the F-15 has also been used as an A-Sat (anti-satellite missile) platform.

The Eagle can "zoom climb" to 90,000 ft plus....
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sat Dec 24, 2005 12:19 pm

According to the B747 Type Certificate Data Sheet the maximum altitude for all models is 45,100 feet.
 
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sat Dec 24, 2005 12:29 pm

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 18):
Related question: I know it could be classified, but maybe it's not. At what altitude can a VC-25A cruise (if necessary)?

I'm gonna go with 45100 feet. Is there really a point in going higher? You're higher than ground based SAMs anyway. Also, you can't escape from AA missiles since all the interceptors can fly way higher, fly faster and turn tighter. So there's no point going to 55000 or whatever. Might as well fly the same profile as the civilian variants.
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dw747400
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sat Dec 24, 2005 1:57 pm

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 18):
Related question: I know it could be classified, but maybe it's not. At what altitude can a VC-25A cruise (if necessary)?

The E-4Bs can apparently climb to well over 50,000 feet, and have done so in service though it is not typical. I'd imagine VC-25A physically could do the same, but I've never heard anything specific about it.
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PhilSquares
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sat Dec 24, 2005 2:24 pm

Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 23):
The E-4Bs can apparently climb to well over 50,000 feet

I rather doubt that! The empty weight of the aircraft is a good 100,000 lbs. heavier than the 747-200B. So, unless it had virutally no fuel, it's not going to get that high.
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sat Dec 24, 2005 3:22 pm

Slightly off topic.... but.. the air breathing altitude champ, the MIG-25.

Altitude: 123,523 ft. (37,650 meters)
Aircraft: E-266M ) (Mig-25)
Pilot: Alexander Fedotov
Date: August 31, 1977
Location: Soviet Union

That's 23.39 miles!
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HaveBlue
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sun Dec 25, 2005 3:14 pm

Quoting KDTWflyer (Reply 25):
Slightly off topic.... but.. the air breathing altitude champ, the MIG-25.

The MiG-25, while able to attain altitudes of over 100,000', could do so only in a zoom climb profile, it could not maintain that altitude. The SR-71 could maintain, for hours, level flight at between 85,000-100,000', which makes it the 'air breathing champ' of sustained altitude.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 12):
A certain converted airliner has been used to launch rockets into space, serving as a "first stage", so to speak. If the 747 can get up to FL600, I should think that it would be a pretty good first stage for a rocket. I don't remember if the converted airliner was a 747, though.

The airliner platform that was used for the first stage of the Pegasus satellite was a Lockheed L-1011.
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wilco737
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sun Dec 25, 2005 4:58 pm

Hello guys,

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 7):
I only have about 8000 hours PIC on the 400, so I'd think my response should just about cover the answer.

I must say it is really funny that people doubt the answer of a pilot of the 747-400 with 8000 PIC on it! I am flying 737s and it is funny how people try to tell me how to fly it!  Wink

A jetliner FL550-600?!?! no way! how should the engines get enough air up there to produce thrust? Not possible! the aircrafts which can fly that high have a different engine system!

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jush
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Sun Dec 25, 2005 8:18 pm

Quoting StevenUhl777 (Reply 15):
Don't know about the LA area, but if you're ever in the Portland (PDX) area, be sure to check out the Evergreen Air Museum on Hwy. 18 in McMinnville, about an hour southwest of the city. They have an SR-71 there that you can walk around. THAT is an amazing airplane, bar none. That airplane alone probably is on the top #3 list for reasons we won the Cold War.

You didn't win!

Regds
jush

By the way isn't there a funny joke about the blackbird?

Blackbird: Request FL600
ATC: If you can climb that high your request is approved.
Blackbird: Rgr descending to FL600  Smile

Something like it.

Regds
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LeanOfPeak
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 2:54 am

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 27):
A jetliner FL550-600?!?! no way! how should the engines get enough air up there to produce thrust? Not possible! the aircrafts which can fly that high have a different engine system!


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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 5:13 am

Quoting LeanOfPeak (Reply 29):

even better  wink 


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wilco737
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 6:23 am

well, Concorde, yes,

but quesion: are the engines of the Concorde comparable to the engines of a lets say 744? Answer: no they are not! And the profile of the wings of the Concorde are a lot different! The Concorde was built to fly at these altitudes at these speeds, the 744 is not!

But you guys were right, there is a jetliner, flying that high  Wink

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Mir
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 7:13 am

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 27):
A jetliner FL550-600?!?! no way! how should the engines get enough air up there to produce thrust? Not possible! the aircrafts which can fly that high have a different engine system!

I have been on a Learjet 23 at FL510...

-Mir
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Matt72033
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 7:26 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 32):
I have been on a Learjet 23 at FL510

he said FL550-6000  Wink
 
Mir
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 7:53 am

Quoting Matt72033 (Reply 33):
he said FL550-6000

I know, but FL510 is kind of close.

-Mir
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dw747400
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:04 am

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 24):
I rather doubt that! The empty weight of the aircraft is a good 100,000 lbs. heavier than the 747-200B. So, unless it had virutally no fuel, it's not going to get that high.

I'm have nowhere near your background with the 747 (obviously!) so I'm not going to try and argue this is a fact. However, the 50,000+ number came from a VC-25A flight engineer speaking about the E-4Bs, which he also had some time on. Therefore, I tend to believe it is possible, though it may not be practical in many/most situations.
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PhilSquares
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 11:17 am

Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 35):
However, the 50,000+ number came from a VC-25A flight engineer speaking about the E-4Bs, which he also had some time on. Therefore, I tend to believe it is possible, though it may not be practical in many/most situations

I'm telling you it's an aerodynamic impossibility! There is no way the E4 can make it to that altitude. The empty weight of the aircraft os over 100,000 lbs heavier than a regular 747-200B, it does have larger engines, but it has the same wing.. Therefore unless they're going to stall the aircraft, it just can't go that high.

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Molykote
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 3:05 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 34):
Quoting Matt72033 (Reply 33):
he said FL550-6000

I know, but FL510 is kind of close.

-Mir

Among parameters that matter to the operation of an aircraft FL510 is quite a different world than 55k-60k.


Edit:
http://www.pdas.com/e2.htm
Standard Atmosphere Table to 61k for reference.

[Edited 2005-12-26 07:12:03]
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lehpron
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 3:31 pm

B-52 Stratofortress' were capable of cruising at FL680.

While flying higher is better for the engine, is there a danger of UV rays when flying too high? It's usually the first thing I think of regarding high altitude flight, thinner air means more bullsh*t from the sun. Might as well fly less time if you're going to be up there to maintain the dosage, maybe?

Quoting Sevenheavy (Reply 10):
The aircraft will then step climb as it burns off fuel/weight.

Step climb = cruise climb while asking ATC permission?

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 20):
The Eagle can "zoom climb" to 90,000 ft plus....

Similar to what X-15 did, zoom part-way and coast the rest until it keeled over, projectile-wise. I think a lot of aircraft can do that provided the weight were lower than thrust, hence mostly military. Even if most airliners had 5% of a full tank, they may be able to achieve a half-gravity acceleration, i.e. a 30-degree climb angle out of the airport.
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Mir
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 7:07 pm

Quoting Molykote (Reply 37):
Among parameters that matter to the operation of an aircraft FL510 is quite a different world than 55k-60k.

Quite a range of information there, but unfortunately I have no idea what it means. Any explanations?

-Mir
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Matt72033
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Mon Dec 26, 2005 7:12 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 39):
Quite a range of information there, but unfortunately I have no idea what it means. Any explanations?

alt is altitude in thousands of feet.
sigma is density divided by sea-level density.
delta is pressure divided by sea-level pressure.
theta is temperature divided by sea-level temperature.
temp is temperature in degrees Rankine.
pressure is pressure in pounds per square foot.
dens is density in slugs per cubic foot.
a is the speed of sound in feet per second.
visc is viscosity in 10**(-6) slugs per foot-second.
k.visc is kinematic viscosity in square feet per second.
ratio is speed of sound divided by kinematic viscosity times 10**(-6)
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Tue Dec 27, 2005 5:14 am

90K ft. for an F-15? That's pretty awesome. As is 123K for the MiG-25.

Still, have a soft spot for the SR-71 (and who doesn't?), not to mention the X-15.

Thanks to the person who identified the L-1011 as the "first stage" for the Pegasus.
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Starlionblue
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Tue Dec 27, 2005 6:05 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 41):
not to mention the X-15.

Hmmm, but the X-15 cheats! The thing needs to take off and land under it's own power, wouldn't you say?

In related trivia, under FAI criteria, Yuri Gagarin was not the first man in space.
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skysurfer
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Tue Dec 27, 2005 6:56 am

Not to nitpick or anything, but the highest altitude reached by an F-15 was 103K feet back in '75. Obviously it was a high speed climb from low level.....'coast' to the top and come straight back down again (due to lack of O2 for the engines and obviously no thrust)

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LeanOfPeak
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:01 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 42):
Hmmm, but the X-15 cheats! The thing needs to take off and land under it's own power, wouldn't you say?

Far more relevant than that is that the X-15 is a rocket.  Smile
 
EMBQA
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:04 am

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 5):
Certificated ceiling is 45,100'

You are correct Sir...

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory...c4862570130061c913/$FILE/A20WE.pdf

[Edited 2005-12-27 01:06:14]
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Starlionblue
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Tue Dec 27, 2005 11:55 am

Quoting LeanOfPeak (Reply 44):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 42):
Hmmm, but the X-15 cheats! The thing needs to take off and land under it's own power, wouldn't you say?

Far more relevant than that is that the X-15 is a rocket.

Oh yes indeed. Non-airbreathing. But then again the X-15 is a winged craft... On the other hand even capsules like Apollo generate some lift. The argument could go on for a while Big grin
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gigneil
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:10 pm

Quoting September11 (Reply 30):
even better wink

One of the main reasons Concorde had turbojets rather than fans... the need to cruise at up to FL650.

N
 
Molykote
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:44 pm

Quoting FLLDTW744 (Thread starter):
Hey guys, just a quick simple question....how high can a 747 fly?

A "quick simple question" that PhilSquares answered in Reply 7...

Half the fun of a.net is seeing where these threads end up!
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CON207
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RE: How High Can A 747 Fly?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 4:49 am

Here's one for you just whilst we are on this subject... What was the maximum ceiling of the 747SP?

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