The Boeing 747-400ER was the longest range version of Boeing’s jumbo jet until the Boeing 747-8I came along. There are just six passenger aircraft flying today, all with the only customer to order them, Australia’s Qantas.

First flying on 31 July 2002, the Seattle manufacturer touted it as the largest and fastest aircraft in the sky at the time. It cruises at Mach 0.85 and has its take-off weight increased by 35,000 pounds (15,870 kilograms) to 910,000 pounds (412,770 kilograms) compared to the standard -400.

Boeing 747-400ER Video

Following last weeks video on the Boeing 720, this week we stay in Seattle and have a look at the Boeing 747-400ER. Both videos, shot in Cartagena, Colombia, show a Qantas aircraft on an around-the world charter. Around a minute in length, the first shows the aircraft taxiing and the second is take-off.

The extra take-off weight in the -400ER meant the aircraft could carry more fuel for long range passenger flights, or more cargo in the freighter version. In fact, Boeing sold 40 freighters, making the jet more common in that area. With its nose loading capability, the cargo version of the 747 can take large loads other jets just can’t.

Qantas ordered their six aircraft for use on the long routes from Melbourne to Los Angeles, Sydney to Santiago and Sydney to Johannesburg. The additional range (an extra 805 kilometres, taking it up to 14,045 kilometres) meant a full load could be carried on board, no matter what the prevailing wind situation on the long sector.

Overall Thoughts

The Boeing 747-400ER is the rarest Boeing 747 in existence as there are only six in service. All of them are due to be retired during 2020 as Qantas is moving to more efficient and environmentally friendly twins for their passenger services.

Australia’s Qantas was once the only airline in the world with a fleet that was all Boeing 747. That was during the period 1979 to 1985 after the retirement of the 707 and before introduction of the 767. When the last six are retired this year, it will be the end of an era, closing 49 years of Jumbo Jet service for the airline.

Have you flown on board a Qantas Boeing 747-400ER? I know I have! What did you think of it? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Nicholas Young on Flickr.