- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet
Boeing 747-436 Jumbo Jet British Airways G-BNLR Vancouver Airport YVR CYVR British Columbia Canada
1990 Boeing 747-436 Jumbo Jet
G-BNLR (sn 24447)
British Airways Jumbo Jet On Short Final For Runway 26R at Vancouver International Airport.
Photo taken September 05, 2006
Vancouver Airport, BC Canada (YVR/CYVR)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
Boeing 747-458 Jumbo Jet El Al Israel Airlines 4X-ELA, Geneva Airport (GVA/LSGG) Switzerland
Boeing 747-458 Jumbo Jet
4X-ELA (sn 26055/1027)
EL AL Israel Airlines
Picture taken January 31, 2004
Geneva International (Cointrin) Airport, Switzerland (GVA / LSGG)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Boeing 747-400 is a widebody commercial airliner, and is the most recent version of the Boeing 747 aircraft in service. The -400 series is the best selling and the most advanced model, currently flying, of the 747 family. The 747-400 is to be replaced by the Boeing 747-8, which is still in development.

Design and development

The 747-400 was announced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes in October 1985. Compared to the 747-300 the 747-400 has 6 feet (1.8 m) wing tip extensions and 6 feet (1.8 m) winglets, and a glass cockpit which dispensed with the need for a flight engineer. The 747-400 also improved on the -300 with tail fuel tanks, revised engines, an all-new interior, revised fuselage/wing fairings and newer in-flight entertainment. Like the 747-300, the passenger version of the 747-400 included the stretched upper deck (SUD) as a standard feature. The SUD was almost twice as long as the standard upper deck. It had previously been offered as a retrofit and first appeared on two Japanese 747-100 SR models. While the wingspan was increased, the overall weight of the wings was decreased due to the use of composites and aluminum alloys.

It was rolled out in January 1988 and first flew on 29 April 1988. Certification was received on 10 January 1989 with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, 18 May 1989 with CF6-80C2s and 8 June 1989 with Rolls-Royce RB211-524Gs. The first 747-400 was delivered to Northwest Airlines on 26 January 1989, with service entry on 9 February.

The extended range freighter (ERF) entered service in October 2002. The next month, the extended range (ER) passenger version entered service with Qantas, the only airline ever to order the passenger version of the 747-400ER. Qantas uses the aircraft on its Melbourne-Los Angeles and Sydney-San Francisco flights, which are too long to operate using a standard 747-400.

The Boeing Signature Interior was later made available on the 747-400, either as interior refitting on existing 747-400s or as a "fresh-from-installation" option on newer 747-400s and 747-400ERs. One example, China Airlines's four newest Boeing 747-400s (tail number B-1821x), also the last four passenger 747-400s built, were newly built with Boeing Signature Interior. One of these (B-18210) has a hybrid livery, with China Airlines' tail and Boeing's fuselage liveries.


Boeing 747-400
The 747-400 is an improved version of the 747-300 with increased wingspan, winglets, revised engines and a glass cockpit that removed the need for a flight engineer. The 747-400 passenger version features a stretched upper deck (SUD) like the 747-300 as a standard feature. In 1989, a Qantas 747-400 flew non-stop from London to Sydney, a distance of 9,720 nmi (11,190 mi, 18,000 km) in 20 hours and 9 minutes, although this was a delivery flight with no commercial passengers or freight aboard and using extra dense jet aviation fuel produced specially by Shell.

Production of the 747-400 passenger version officially ceased on 15 March 2007. The last four -400s on order were canceled by Philippine Airlines (which switched to the 777-300ER). The last to order the -400 was China Airlines in November 2002, with the last passenger 747-400 constructed in 2005 and delivered in April of that year. It was the 1358th 747 (MSN33737/B-18215).

The 747-400F (Freighter) is an all freight version which uses the fuselage design of the 747-200F. The aircraft's first flight was on 4 May 1993 and it entered service with Cargolux Airlines on 17 November 1993. Major customers include Atlas Air, Cargolux, China Airlines, Korean Air, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, and Singapore Airlines. The -400F can be easily distinguished from the passenger -400 by its shorter upper-deck hump.

The United States Air Force has purchased seven 747-400Fs to act as "Airborne Laser" carriers, designated YAL-1A. The aircraft are heavily modified to carry a nose mounted turret and Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) equipment.

Boeing had orders for one 747-400F aircraft to be delivered as of February 2009.

Boeing 747-400M
The 747-400M (a passenger/freight or "Combi" variant) first flew on 30 June 1989 and entered service with KLM on 12 September 1989. The -400M has a large cargo door fitted to the rear of the fuselage. The last 747-400M was delivered to KLM on 10 April 2002.

Boeing 747-400D
The 747-400D (Domestic) is a high density seating model developed for short-haul domestic Japanese flights. The aircraft is capable of seating a maximum of 568 passengers in a 2-class configuration or 660 passengers in a single-class configuration. The -400D lacks the wing tip extensions and winglets included on other variants. The benefits of winglets would be minimal on short routes. The -400D may be converted to the long range version when needed.

The 747-400D is also unusual in having more windows on both sides of the upper deck than the basic -400 series (2 portside, 4 starboard).

The 747-400 Domestic first flew on 18 March 1991 and entered service with Japan Airlines on 22 October 1991. The last was delivered to All Nippon Airways in December 1995.

Boeing 747-400ER
The 747-400ER (Extended range) was launched on 28 November 2000 following an order by Qantas for 6 aircraft. This was ultimately the only order for the passenger version. The -400ER can fly an additional 805 km or carry 6,800 kg more freight. Qantas received the first -400ER on 31 October 2002.

The 747-400ER includes the option of 1 or 2 additional 3,240 US gallon body fuel tanks in the forward cargo hold. Manufactured by Marshall Aerospace, these tanks utilize innovative metal to metal honeycomb bonded technology to achieve an incredibly high dry weight to fuel volume ratio. Similar technology has been used in the development by Marshall of body fuel tanks for the 777-200LR and P-8A Poseidon MMA aircraft.

Boeing 747-400ERF
The 747-400ERF is the freight version of the -400ER, launched on 30 April 2001. The -400ERF was delivered to Air France (via ILFC) on 17 October 2002. The 747-400ERF has a maximum payload of 248,600 pounds (112,760 kg)(maximum takeoff weight is 910,000 pounds) and offers the cargo airline the choice of either adding 22,000 pounds (9,980 kg) more payload than other 747-400 freighters, or adding 525 nautical miles (972 km) to the maximum range. It has a maximum range of 9,200 km, about 525 km farther than other 747-400 freighters, and has a strengthened fuselage, landing gear and parts of its wing, along with new, larger tires.

Boeing has five 747-400ERFs aircraft to be delivered as of February 2009. The new 747-8 Freighter will have more payload capacity but less range than the 747-400ERF.

Boeing 747-400BCF
The 747-400BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter), formerly known as the 747-400SF (Special Freighter), is a conversion program for standard passenger 747-400s. The project was launched in 2004. The first Boeing 747-400BCF was redelivered to Cathay Pacific Cargo and entered service on 19 December 2005.

Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter
Boeing announced in October 2003 that due to the length of time of marine shipping, air transport will be the primary method of transporting parts for the Boeing 787. Pre-owned passenger 747-400 aircraft have been converted into an outsize, "Large Cargo Freighter" configuration, in order to ferry sub-assemblies to Everett, Washington for final assembly. The LCF has a bulging fuselage similar to that of the Super Guppy or Airbus Beluga cargo planes used for transporting wings and fuselage sections. The conversion, designed by Boeing engineers from Puget Sound, Moscow and Canoga Park, and Gamesa Aeronautica in Spain, is carried out in Taiwan by a subsidiary of the Evergreen Group. Boeing has purchased four second-hand aircraft, converted two of them and two are being modified.

Delivery times will be reduced from up to 30 days to as low as a day with the 747 LCF. The Large Cargo Freighter can hold three times the volume of a 747-400F freighter. Evergreen International Airlines, which is unrelated to the Evergreen Group, is the operator of the LCF fleet.

The LCF is not a Boeing production model and will not be sold to any customers or see any airliner operation. It will be for Boeing's exclusive use.

Biofuel experiment

In an effort to promote sustainable and alternative fuel development, as well as lower emissions, several airlines are studying the use of oil extracted from the jatropha plant. Air New Zealand carried out the first commercial flight using jatropha oil for fuel; the airline's 747-400 had one engine burning a mix of 50% jatropha oil and 50% jet fuel for two hours during the flight while engineers collected data. Continental Airlines plans to test jatropha oil in one of its airliners on January 7, 2009. Jatropha is easy to grow, needs little fertilizer or water and produces an oil-rich plant.

Current operators

Total aircraft in commercial service: 651
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air Atlantic
- Air China
- Air China Cargo
- Air France
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Air Pacific
- Air Pullmantur
- AirBridge Cargo
- All Nippon Airways
- Asiana Airlines
- Atlas Air
- British Airways
- Cargolux
- Cathay Pacific
- Cathay Pacific Cargo
- China Airlines
- China Airlines Cargo
- China Southern Airlines
- Corsairfly
- Dragonair
- El Al Israel Airlines
- Emirates Airline
- EVA Air
- Evergreen International Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Global Supply Systems
- Great Wall Airlines
- Jade Cargo International
- Japan Air Lines
- Kalitta Air
- Korean Air
- Kuwait Airways
- Lufthansa
- Malaysia Airlines
- Martinair
- Nippon Cargo Airlines
- Northwest Airlines
- Philippine Airlines
- Polar Air Cargo
- Qantas
- Royal Air Maroc
- Saudi Arabian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Singapore Airlines Cargo
- Thai Airways International
- TNT Airways
- Transaero
- United Airlines
- UPS Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic Airways
- World Airways
- Yangtze River Express

Other users
- Abu Dhabi Flight
- Bahrain Amiri Flight
- Dubai Air Wing
- Government of Brunei
- Government of Kuwait
- Government of Saudi Arabia
- Japan Air Self-Defense Force
- Kingdom Aircraft Leasing
- Royal Flight of Oman
- United States Air Force


Model Boeing 747-400 Boeing 747-400ER Boeing 747-400F
Cockpit Crew Two
Seating capacity
Cargo capacity
416 (3-class) Main deck: 30 pallets
Lower deck: 32 LD-1 containers
Maximum payload: 248,300 lbs (112,630 kg)
Length 231 ft 10 in (70.6 m)
Wingspan 211 ft 5 in (64.9 m)
Height 63 ft 8 in (19.4 m)
Weight empty 394,088 lb
(178,756 kg)
406,900 lb
(184,567 kg)
Maximum take-off weight 875,000 lb
(396,890 kg)
910,000 lb
(412,775 kg)
875,000 lb
(396,890 kg)
Cruising speed Mach 0.85
(491 kt, 910 km/h)
Mach 0.855
(493 kt, 913 km/h)
Mach 0.845
(486 kt, 901 km/h)
Maximum speed Mach 0.92
(590 kt, 1093 km/h)
Takeoff run at MTOW (3,018 m) (3,090 m) (3,018 m)
Maximum Range 7,260 NM
(13,450 km)
7,670 NM
(14,205 km)
4,445 NM
(8,230 km)
Max. fuel capacity 57,285 US gal (216,840 L) 63,705 US gal (241,140 L) 57,285 US gal (216,840 L)
Engine models (x 4) PW 4062
GE CF6-80C2B5F
RR RB211-524H
PW 4062
GE CF6-80C2B5F
PW 4062
GE CF6-80C2B5F
RR RB211-524H
Engine thrust (x 4) 63,300 lbf (282,000 N) PW
62,100 lbf (276,000 N) GE
59,500 lbf (265,000 N) RR
63,300 lbf (282,000 N) PW
62,100 lbf (276,000 N) GE
63,300 lbf PW
62,100 lbf (276,000 N) GE
59,500 lbf (265,000 N) RR

Incidents and accidents

On 23 July 1999, a man hijacked All Nippon Airways Flight 61, a 747-400D airliner bound for New Chitose Airport near Sapporo, Hokkaidō from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda). The man killed the pilot. Other crew members restrained him, and the airliner landed safely.

On 31 October 2000, Singapore Airlines Flight 006, a 747-400 flying on a Singapore to Los Angeles via Taipei route rammed into construction equipment while attempting to take off from a closed runway at Chiang Kai Shek International Airport, caught fire and was destroyed, killing 79 passengers and three crew members. The accident prompted the airline to change the flight number of this route from 006 to 030 and to remove the "Tropical Megatop" livery on the accident aircraft's sister ship.

On 31 January 2001, Japan Airlines Flight 907, a 747-400D bound for Naha International Airport from Tokyo International Airport, nearly collided with another Japan Airlines aircraft. The 747 pilot suddenly dived and narrowly avoided the oncoming DC-10. See 2001 Japan Airlines mid-air incident.

On 25 July 2008, Qantas Flight 30, a 747-400 bound for Melbourne Airport from Hong Kong International Airport, made an emergency landing at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines with a gaping hole in its lower fuselage forward of the starboard wing; the aircraft lost a fairing. No one was hurt. After ruling out terrorism, authorities focused on the possibility of an exploding oxygen bottle from the emergency oxygen supply system. This theory was confirmed as the cause in an interim report issued by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Last updated March 20, 2009
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Boeing 747-400".
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