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cloudboy
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A 747 By Any Other Name

Sat May 07, 2016 6:16 pm

If an aircraft company were to make a plane that looked very similar to the 747, do you think it would have the same popularity in the general public? Another words, is it the design or is it the history of the aircraft that people really fall in love with? The A380 hasn't really caught the public eye in the way the 747 has, and even the 787 and A350 seem to be just one more aircraft. At the same time labeling a 747 as an A390 just doesn't seem like it would go over well for me.

I do NOT want the discussion to be about the technical feasibility, the likelihood of an company producing the aircraft or airline ordering it, I just want to stick to the design versus the history and name. Thank you.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
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JetBuddy
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sat May 07, 2016 9:08 pm

I think the reason the 747 became so popular and recognized, is a mix of these things. It was introduced in the early era of jet airliners, when flying was something exclusive and not yet for everyone. And at the time, it was the largest jet passenger aircraft ever made. The looks helped as well, the 747 looks majestic from just about every angle.

The same thing could be said about the Concorde. It too was something new and exciting, breaking records.. and looking fantastic.

I still think it's possible to "wow" the public with a new aircraft, but it needs to be something very unique and new.
 
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caoimhin
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 12:34 am

Quoting JetBuddy (Reply 1):

Well said.

It's an aircraft that was, in its day, operationally practical, pleasant to look at, and quite striking in scale. It's still a beautiful plane, half a century on. I'll add that the 747, in particular, has for decades been used in music and poetry. It's got a romantic sort of status that it would be tough to imagine being convincingly attached to any other contemporary model.
 
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ERJ135
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 1:23 am

Interesting Question!
So If Boeing never built the 747 in its line up and another manufacturer did build it but with another name would it still be the success it was?
Well I could only see it being built in the USA, So if it was a Lockheed, a McDouglas or a Convair, probably yes it would have been every bit as successful and whoever built it would still be in business today and Boeing probably wouldn't.
If the Chinese had built it then no way, if it was a Tupolev or Antonov or Illushin, the western world would never have had them.
The "what if" questions are always interesting, you can answer likely outcomes, be opinionated or just a random guess and in the end no one really knows.
I so want to fly on SCAT one day!
 
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TheFlyingDisk
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 1:34 am

When it was first introduced the 747 was revolutionary, a widebody aircraft in a narrowbody world, which is why it managed to capture the general public's attention. Today, widebody aircraft is fairly common for intercontinental travel & travelers today are so blasé about the equipment they're flying on that a 747 copy will not be received as well as back in the 1960s/1970s.

Just look at the A380. Despite Airbus really pushing the marketing of the aircraft towards the layperson, many travelers don't give a damn about it. Only avgeeks do.
I FLY KLM+ALASKA+QATAR+MALAYSIA+AIRASIA+MALINDO
 
Slcpilot
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 1:43 am

Interesting.

In my opinion, Boeing dropped the ball when they deleted the shark-tail from the 787. They had an opportunity to make an aircraft that would have been instantly distinguishable to anybody in the terminal, even those that don't read these forums (i.e. 99.99998% of the general population). Sure it would have had a slight increase in cost, with probably a negligible change in performance, but it would have been decades of advertising.

This may have even matched the iconic shape that is the 747.

SLCPilot


Ps. I agree, almost 5 decades later the curves still seem to be in all the right places.
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TWA772LR
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 1:52 am

The 747 was the first widebody, ever. It made long haul ops possible. And the thing that makes it stick out to everyone is the hump. You can grab someone off the street, and line up a CSeries, Superjet, 737, A320, 777, 767, and A350 and everyone will think it's the same airplane, just larger or smaller versions. Even the A380 is just "that really big plane", but the 747 is and always will be THE 747.

People associate 7FOUR7 with FOUR engines and the hump. The only airplane that has ever come close to being that recognizable is Concorde, and that's solely because of it's non-conventional shape. And as others have said, the 747 has entered the folklore of the public and is now one of the most iconic achievements of human history, not just technologically, but romantically and even pridefully. It's one thing to have your nations name go fast, but to have it go far is another. More airlines ordered the 747 out of pride than the Concorde because of it's sheer size. As a result, air travel was revolutionized.

Fast forward to the 2000s, and the greatest technological advance in commercial aviation since the 747 is the 787, but as far as the public is concerned, it's just another airplane. Joe Schmo would still most likely fly a 747 than a 787 for his family vacation for the wow factor (if the price is right, of course).

I will never forget my first 747 ride. It was my first time flying in a 4 engined plane, first time flying across the Pacific, and first time to a continent I had never been too. And for a lot of people, their first 747 rides are very similar, thus evoking a since of similarity among the human species. That is the true nature and beauty of commercial aviation, it brings the world together. It is an industry, a science, and art all in one. And the 747 spurred that movement more than any other aircraft in human history.
When wasn't America great?


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HOOB747
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 3:20 am

Last September while sitting in the United Club at O'Hare, a United 744 pulled into Gate C-18. A man my age (47) asked out loud if that was a 747. "Yes it is", I answered. "Are you sure?" he continued. After nearly choking on my drink, I finished with "Yep, pretty sure". Heck, even my Mom knows a 747 when she sees one.

I think after 48 iconic years, the 747 is still the most recognizable airplane, to people of a certain age, say 50 and above. To many younger people who aren't aviation enthusiasts, it is just another plane. Unless something very radically unique or different comes along, it will be tough to capture the imagination of the general public. The paradigm shifting introduction of the 747 in the late 60s is likely unknown to most younger fliers, so to them, it's just another plane. Part of the appreciation of the 747 is it's history, the massive size, the distinctive hump, the spiral staircase. People today don't see the majesty anymore, just the utility. In-flight entertainment today is more important to fliers than the plane itself. I doubt any new design, even resembling a 747, would distract fliers from their text machines.
I love dem planes....
 
nikeherc
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 3:43 am

The 747 is iconic. No other airplane looks like it or has the same cachet. The Lockheed Constellation is in the same category. It can't be mistaken for anything else. The 707 and the DC-8 were not identical, but from a distance you have to look hard or be very knowledgeable to tell them apart. The 747 and the Connie are unique. I actually preferred the looks of the DC-7 and the DC-8-63 is in my opinion the best looking jetliner ever made. However, I recognize a classic when I see one.
DC6 to 777 and most things in between
 
klm672
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 4:11 am

Even if a brand new plane is created, to the public it will still be a "747'.

"I flew *insert regional airport* to *insert hub 100 miles away* on a 747".
 
FrmrKSEngr
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 5:05 am

I was about 7 when the 747 entered service. I was on a Pan Am 747 flight from LHR to JFK about month after entry into service. I was already an airplane nut and since my father worked for TWA at JFK, I had flown quite a bit for the time. That plane was huge compared to the 707s and DC-8 I had flown on before.

Made lots of 747 JFK-LHR flights through college on TWA, PA, BOAC/BA. One thing I do remember from the time were the 747 jumbo elephant murals in the LHR T3. For the time that was a long walk on the moving side walk from the main lounge to the gates. Still remember the tick tick tick tick of the flight board in the big .
 
nitepilot79
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 12:00 pm

Innovative design. Great engineering. Great timing. Destiny  .
 
nitepilot79
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 12:31 pm

Now that I think about it, the timing was better with the -400  .
 
nikeherc
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 12:39 pm

Oddly enough, one of the types on which I have not flown, is the 747. The first time I saw one was at LHR, in early 1970. I had just arrived on the DL/PA interchange flight from IAD. As we approached it, I thought "That really doesn't look so big." Then we pulled in to a nearby stand. Taking the bus to the terminal, we passed right by it. Then the size of that monster hit me. One of those moments you don't forget if you love planes.
DC6 to 777 and most things in between
 
nitepilot79
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 12:52 pm

Quoting nikeherc (Reply 13):
Oddly enough, one of the types on which I have not flown, is the 747.

Run to her. Never felt so safe in an airplane.
 
AApilot2b
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 1:27 pm

I use to think the same as you that, "the A380 hasn't really caught the public eye in the way the 747 has, and even the 787 and A350 seem to be just one more aircraft," but having heard the recent discussions of friends who got to fly on 787s , I'm starting to change a little. The fact is, I have never heard anyone talk about a flight the way they discussed the 787. Most of the time, people can't even remember what kind of plane they were on, but in this case they were very excited about the airplane, the atmosphere, the windows, its looks etc.... That being said, when a 747 taxies by, everyone stops... she is a unique beauty that will always stand out in the crowd.
 
PanAm1971
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 3:58 pm

IMHO the 747 became what it is to the public because it opened the world to every day people. Also, with it's unique-but solid-appearance it gained a special place in the hearts of the traveling public. I many ways the 747 was the public's first "tech" love affair. It was a groundbreaking advance accessible by ordinary people. To this day-the 747 has a special place in the hearts of folks.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Sun May 08, 2016 11:37 pm

I agree with others here that the iconic nature of the 747 is a function of its being the first and the fact that it changed the world so, and in a way that many people don't even think about.

But in addition consider this: We have a very near replacement for the Boeing 757: the A321NEO/LR. Both A321NEO variants carry similar payload to the 757. Both have very similar T/MTOW ratios (A321 is slightly better). The LR model offers similar range. Heck, it even looks similar (with winglets, anyway).


...And yet people still clamor for the 757 replacement. And I'd argue that the 757 isn't even an icon! Great, popular airplane that did its job admirably and sold lots of copies, yes, but not an icon.

So, no. In 20 years there will be a.net posters clamoring for Boeing to re-open the 747 line because they heard they kept the tooling somewhere. No airplane will be iconic in quite the way the 747 was. Other icons will come, but the 747, like all icons, is special.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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cloudboy
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Mon May 09, 2016 12:02 am

Quoting AApilot2b (Reply 15):
That being said, when a 747 taxies by, everyone stops... she is a unique beauty that will always stand out in the crowd.

I have always been puzzled why Virgin Atlantic, which has kind of tried to cash in on the "jet set" image, had never really done much to market the 747s. I know they had the 4 engines 4 long haul argument early on, but I would have thought the would have recognized the value in the 747 image.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
N1120A
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Mon May 09, 2016 12:54 am

The 747 also happens to be an extremely attractive aircraft to the eye, for most people. The A380's aesthetics just aren't the same.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
nitepilot79
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Mon May 09, 2016 4:36 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 17):
And I'd argue that the 757 isn't even an icon! Great, popular airplane that did its job admirably and sold lots of copies, yes, but not an icon.

More of a "cult" following, imho. I'm speaking in tongues now .
 
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DocLightning
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Mon May 09, 2016 7:08 am

Quoting nitepilot79 (Reply 14):

Run to her. Never felt so safe in an airplane.

I've never felt unsafe in an airplane, so I'm not sure what that feels like, but the 747 is just enormous.

And there is something about it that the A380 lacks. The A380 is big, but the 747 is majestic.

Quoting nitepilot79 (Reply 20):

More of a "cult" following, imho. I'm speaking in tongues now .

Like the A320, the 757 has an odd-looking, bulbous nose. This is because the view out the cockpit windows needs to be very similar to the view out of a 767 cockpit. It also gives the pilots a quieter, more ergonomic cockpit than that on the 707/727/737. While I always enjoyed the 757's penchant for dramatic takeoffs, I always felt that the 747 was by far the most regally beautiful airplane ever built, while the 727 was the most dramatic.

As for Concorde, she was the only SST ever put into service and her form is beautiful, but I wonder if an even more elegant shape might have evolved had history gone differently.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
hb88
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Mon May 09, 2016 11:29 am

I think that context and history are everything here. As others have said, the 747 was a dramatically different aircraft at a very particular time in aviation history.

Newer aircraft like the 380, 787 or 350 are in a different, perhaps more utilitarian, time.

Having said that, both anecdotally and operationally, there is a selection effect observable with the 380. Anecdotally, passengers love it for its quiet and space (certainly they don't give a damn about its looks - either good or otherwise). The 350 is building a reputation for comfort (low noise levels again) and, depending on the carrier, space (especially in eco where the differences in carriers current seat configs compared to the competition have a dramatic effect on pax comfort).

I think some airlines price 380 legs higher than others based on passenger demand. For example Emirates has a very different business class product in their 777 compared to 380 fleet. No-one in their right mind would choose to fly in the 777 because of the inferior business product and noise levels (the 777 is known for it's relatively high cabin noise). There is a pax perception favouring the 380 overall I think - it's just not as pronounced as the historical reaction to the 747. Most of my friends, family and colleagues fly long-haul on non-US carriers and nearly all talk about trying to book on an A380 - and these are people, some of whom, wouldn't normally care what the aircraft type was. Their selection criteria is comfort, not technology.

So, I think the metrics have all changed. The 747 is an aesthetically beautiful aircraft, but I doubt that any of the travelling public really care about that anymore. Personally, I love the look of the 350 and have flown in it quite a lot. I love it for its sense of space (the cabin geometry is excellent in terms of volume perception) and it is even quieter that the 380.

While I very much like the look of the 787, it's cabin noise levels are terrible up front and in the back, and the high density adopted in economy aren't doing it any favours in terms of endearing it to the public. I've heard a lot of people say they painfully endure a long-haul route in a 787. I guess this depends on the carrier.
 
BostonBeau
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RE: A 747 By Any Other Name

Mon May 09, 2016 12:27 pm

I took my first trip on a B747-100 of TWA to London in 1970. The thing that impressed the most was the spaciousness. Those were the days of 9-abreast seating in economy (not 10) with 34 inch seat pitch and aisles wide enough to get around a service cart! There were lounges for economy passengers! There were piano bars in coach (on AA)! There were hot meals and hot towels in economy! There were movies on the big screen! I can't remember the famous person who quipped "What time does this place get to London??" but that was the feeling. Instead of feeling that you were crawling into an aluminum tube, you felt you were entering a theater.

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