BA 747-436 G-CIVM

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The 747 was the result of the work of some 50,000 Boeing people. Called “the Incredibles,” these were the construction workers, mechanics, engineers, secretaries and administrators who made aviation history by building the 747 — the largest civilian airplane in the world — in roughly 16 months during the late 1960s.

The incentive for creating the giant 747 came from reductions in airfares, a surge in air-passenger traffic and increasingly crowded skies.

The 747 was truly monumental in size. The massive airplane required construction of the 200 million-cubic-foot (5.6 million-cubic-meter) 747 assembly plant in Everett, Washington, the world’s largest building (by volume). The fuselage of the original 747 was 225 feet (68.5 meters) long; the tail as tall as a six-story building. Pressurized, it carried a ton of air. The cargo hold had room for 3,400 pieces of baggage and could be unloaded in seven minutes. The total wing area was larger than a basketball court. Yet, the entire global navigation system weighed less than a modern laptop computer.

The 747-400 rolled out in 1988. Its wingspan is 212 feet (64 meters), and it has 6-foot-high (1.8-meter-high) “winglets” on the wingtips. Manufacturer Serial Number 28700, Boeing 747-400 G-CIVM first flew on 27th May 1997 and was delivered to her British Airways London Heathrow base a few weeks later on 5th June. She was initially painted the Matazaō Kayama ‘Waves and Cranes’ ethnic ‘Utopia’ livery, also known as Nami Tsuru, symbolising the cosmic world and the soul of Japan.

Her final revenue flight, as BAW78, landed at Heathrow from Accra on 16th March 2020, when she was withdrawn from service and positioned to St. Athan later that day having accumulated over 100,000 flight hours. The aircraft was the first airframe to be scrapped in August 2020, shortly after the announcement that British Airways would be retiring the 747 fleet.