Development of the 747-400, which had a range of 8,350 miles -- longer than the range of the 300 -- began in 1985. Boeing rolled out the first 747-400 on Jan. 26, 1988, the same day as the first 737-400. The first flight was operated by Northwest on Feb. 9, 1989. The new plane had a glass cockpit, which enabled a reduction in the size of the cockpit crew to two pilots rather than three. It also incorporated major aerodynamic improvements, including winglets to reduce drag, new avionics, a new flight deck and updated entertainment systems. It typically accommodated about 415 passengers in three classes or 524 passengers in two classes.
The 747-8 Boeing introduced the 747-8 at a ceremony this month in Everett. "As the only airplane in the 400 to 500-seat market, the 747-8 Intercontinental will give operators an airplane perfectly suited for long, heavily traveled routes around the world," said Pat Shanahan, Boeing vice president and general manager for airplane programs, in a prepared statement. Boeing said the 747-8 will have 12% lower costs and 16% better fuel economy than its predecessor, the 747-400. Additionally, the aircraft incorporates 787 interior features including a curved, upswept architecture, "giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings," Boeing said. So far the airplane has attracted 33 orders, 20 of them from Lufthansa and five from Korean Air Lines. -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. . >To contact the writer of this article, click here: