The Flight Path Museum has two large British Airways 747-400 models on display in the Main Gallery sporting two different generations of livery (also known as paint scheme), an EVA Air 747-400 model hanging from the ceiling and an American Airlines 747SP in the Southeast area of the room, An additional smaller 1:200 model of an SAS 747-200 is on display in the international hallway.
The livery known as the Landor Scheme, named after the design agency that created it is a favorite of many enthusiasts due to its perceived elegance. It was in use from 1984 to 1997. More information.
The scheme known as “World Tails” was a novel approach to portray British Airways as a world carrier, serving not as the flag carrier for Britain, but for every country it serves. Each aircraft in the fleet would have a different motif painted on the tail. Each motif would be strongly influenced by one of the countries British Airways served. In practice it created confusion at airports as air traffic controllers often tell pilots to follow an airline to a certain position. With the different tails, pilots had difficulty distinguishing British Airways planes from others. Then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously critiqued the design calling the design “not British” before putting a handkerchief on the tail of a model 747 painted in that scheme. The scheme was short lived, in use between 1997 and 1999. More information.
The additional smaller 747-400 model is on display in the main gallery hanging from the ceiling in northwest corner of the room. Sporting the EVA Air colors, EVA first started flying to LAX in 1992 and continues to fly Taipei to LAX on a daily basis.
The American Airlines 747SP in the Southeast corner of the room is a model of the “Special Performance” or SP variant of the 747. Designed to be 47 feet shorter than the original 747-100, it was designed to fly fewer passengers further. It was eventually rendered obsolete with new variants of the 747 that were able to fly the same distances without the loss of passenger capacity. Only a few were built.
The 747-200 model in SAS “Viking” colors is an homage to the Scandinavian history revolving around Vikings with a stylized Viking ship embedded within the cheatline.
The Boeing 747 is often referred to as the “Queen of the skies”. Few aircraft in the history of commercial aviation have had not only an industry wide impact, but also a societal and economic impact as well.
Built by Boeing in Everett Washington, it was the first aircraft to be considered a “wide body”. The 747 was not an incremental leap in size to existing jets of the day such as the 707 0r DC-8, it could carry more than double their passengers. With that capability, it could transport its passengers with more luxurious amenities due to its larger size and over longer distances, the 747 changed the industry.
The real change came in the ability to reduce airfare costs due to economies of scale made possible by the size of the aircraft. More people could access air travel due to plunging costs, making air travel accessible to the masses, opening up travel opportunities that did not exist until then.
The large size of the aircraft meant that airports had to be adapted to accommodate an aircraft that was considerably larger. This meant new terminal facilities to handle more passengers per flight, larger parking bays for the aircraft with a wider wingspan and longer fuselage. Runways and taxiways needed to be adapted to handle the larger aircraft as well as heavier weight.
The first 747 flight to LAX happened almost a year after entering service in December of 1970. Its first flight to London began a trend that made LAX a true hub for 747 operations long-haul to Europe, Asia and Oceania. As the 747 was further developed over the following decades, the aircraft became even more economical while increasing the amount of passengers and cargo it could carry, as well as carrying them further with increased range. The latest version of the 747, the 747-8, will continue to grace the skies for years to come.
The 747 is a frequent visitor to Flight Path as the pads behind the Flight Path are often operated by 747s which will remain in cargo where the 747 is still unmatched for its lift capabilities.
US Air Force Heavy Lift Progrgam
The USAF began studies on a heavy-lift cargo aircraft proposal. Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed all propose concepts.
Lockheed C-5 selected for USAF program.
The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is chosen to fulfill USAF requirements for heavy lift capabilities. Boeing’s concept is significantly modified for potential passenger use.
April 13, 1966
First 747 Order
The first order of 25 747-100 aircraft is placed by Juan Trippe, founder of Pan Am.
February 9, 1969
Boeing 747 takes to the skies above Everett Washington.
December 13, 1969
First 747 is delivered
First 747 is delivered to Pan Am.
December 25, 1970
First 747 arrives at LAX
A Boeing 747 bearing Pan American World Airways markings, landed at Los Angeles International Airport on the evening of December 25, 1970: attracted big crowds while parked on the south side of the airport. Tours were conducted for the general public during evening of December 25th and morning of December 26th, followed by demonstration flights for airline executives, city administrators and press. The 747 departed from Los Angeles International Airport on the night of December 26, 1970.
December 30, 1969
747-100 is certified
The 747-100 is certified by the FAA for commercial operations.
February 25, 1970
TWA Begins LAX -JFK 747 Service
TWA begins Jumbo Jet Flights between JFK and LAX using the 747-100. Golden Wings later starts connection service from Santa Ana and Ontario airports to directly connect passengers to 747 flights.
October 11, 1970
747-200 First Flight
747-200 enters Service
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines becomes the first operator of the 747-200
July 4, 1975
747SP First Flight
The 747SP (Special Performance), a shortened version of the 747 takes-off for the first time. Though carrying fewer passengers, the 747SP allowed airlines to carry passengers further.
747 carries 100 million passengers
The combined 747 fleet carries 100 million passengers to date.
April 25, 1976
First 747SP enters service
Pan Am operates the first 747SP allowing longer routes to be flown.
October 5, 1982
First 747-300 Flight
March 28, 1983
First 747-300 enters service
The 747-300, first 747 with a stretched upper deck enters service with Swissair.
April 29, 1988
747-400 First Flight
First flight of the first 747-400
November 14, 2005
747-8 launched by Boeing
Development of the 747-8, the newest and last evolution of the 747.
March 10, 2007
Over 1,500 747 orders booked
Feb. 8, 2010
747-8 first flight
May 5, 2012
747-8i Enters service
Lufthansa uses the first 747-8i passenger aircraft on the Frankfurt to Washington D.C. route.
December 21, 2017
Delta retires the 747
Delta Airlines celebrates the retirement of their last 747-400 inherited from their merger with Northwest Airlines. The airline celebrated at the Flight Path Museum.
July 24, 2020
Last Qantas Airlines 747 leaves LAX for Mojave
The last 747-400 in the Qantas fleet is flown from LAX to Mojave Air and Space Port for retirement from Qantas service.
February 2, 2023
Last 747 delivered
The last 747 rolls off the assembly line in Everett Washington. A 747-8f is delivered to Atlas Air. Atlas Air is a Platinum Plus Sponsor of the Flight Path Museum LAX.