Monday, December 31, 2007

Boeing 747: The Dream Machine


No other aircraft in history cuts a more impressive form than the Boeing 747. Since they went into commercial service in 1970, 747s have flown about 3.5 billion people, or slightly more than half of the world's population.

But in addition to being an incredible feat of engineering, the 747, more than any other aircraft, has sparked the growth of the international travel industry, opening millions of peoples' eyes and minds to different countries and cultures along the way. To me, there are few things more exciting than seeing a bunch of 747s from all kinds of different countries lined up outside an airport's international terminal.

The 747-400 pictured here shortly after takeoff from Hong Kong International Airport has six million parts, 171 miles of wiring, 8 miles of tubing, and between 300 and 400 passengers excitedly looking forward to arriving at their next destination. Fully loaded, this puppy weighs about 100 tons.

Every time I see or hear a 747, I immediately think of the people on board, and wonder where they're going. And whether drinks have been served yet.

And then, depending on how long it has been since my last vacation, I often become extremely jealous of them, because wherever they're going, they're doing it in a 747.

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