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The Boeing 747-400 is a widebody commercial airliner, and is the second-most recent version of the Boeing 747 aircraft. The -400 series is the best selling model in the 747 family. The 747-400 is to be superseded by the Boeing 747-8 as the latest commercial model, which is scheduled to begin deliveries in 2010.

Design and development

The 747-400 was announced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes in October 1985. Compared to the 747-300 the 747-400 has wing tip extensions, winglets, and a glass cockpit, which dispensed with the need for a flight engineer. The 747-400 also improved on the -300 with an additional fuel tank in the horizontal stabilizer, engines with improved fuel efficiency and higher thrust, an all-new interior, revised fuselage/wing fairings and newer in-flight entertainment. Like the 747-300, the passenger version of the 747-400 has the stretched upper deck (SUD) as a standard feature. The SUD is almost twice as long as the original 747 upper deck. The SUD was previously 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.

The first 747-400 was rolled out in January 1988 and flew for the first time on 29 April 1988. Certification was received on 10 January 1989 with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, 18 May 1989 with General Electric 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.



A Cargolux 747-400F

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 cancelled 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 one 747-400F to act as "Airborne Laser" carriers, designated YAL-1A. The aircraft has been 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 April 2009 which was delivered to Nippon Cargo Airlines.


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.


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.


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 a 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.


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 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 two 747-400ERFs to be delivered as of April 2009. The new 747-8 Freighter will have more payload capacity but less range than the 747-400ERF.


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.

747 Large Cargo Freighter

A 747 LCF Dreamlifter with its swing-tail cargo bay open

Boeing announced in October 2003 that because of the amount of time involved with 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" (LCF) configuration to ferry sub-assemblies to Everettmarker, Washingtonmarker 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 Soundmarker, Moscow and Canoga Parkmarker, and Gamesa Aeronautica in Spain, is carried out in Taiwanmarker by a subsidiary of the Evergreen Group. Boeing has purchased four second-hand aircraft and converted two of them, leaving two to be modified.

Delivery times will be reduced from up to 30 days to as low as a day with the 747 LCF. The LCF 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. The LCFs are 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

Other non-airline users


Model 747-400 747-400ER 747-400F 747-400ERF
Cockpit crew Two
Seating capacity
Cargo capacity

416 (3-class) or 524 (2-class) Main deck: 30 pallets
Lower deck: 32 LD-1 containers
Max. payload: 248,300 lb (112,630 kg)

Main deck: 30 pallets
Lower deck: 32 LD-1 containers
Max. payload: 248,600 lb (112,760 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 394,100 lb
(178,800 kg)
406,900 lb
(184,570 kg)
394,100 lb
(178,800 kg)
406,900 lb
(184,570 kg)
Maximum take-off weight 875,000 lb
(396,890 kg)
910,000 lb
(412,775 kg)
875,000 lb
(396,890 kg)
910,000 lb
(412,775 kg)
Cruising speed

at 35,000 feet
Mach 0.85
(567 mph, 493 knots, 912 km/h)
Mach 0.855
(570 mph, 495 kn, 917 km/h)
Mach 0.845
(564 mph, 490 kn, 908 km/h)
Maximum speed

at 35,000 ft
Mach 0.92
(614 mph, 533 kn, 988 km/h)
Takeoff run at MTOW (3,018 m) (3,090 m) (3,018 m)
Maximum range 7,260 nmi
(13,450 km)
7,670 nmi
(14,205 km)
4,445 nmi
(8,230 km)
4,970 nmi
(9,200 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

PW 4062
GE CF6-80C2B5F
Engine thrust (x 4) PW



Sources: 747-400 specifications, 747-400/-400ER airport report

Incidents and accidents

Notable accidents and incidents

See also


  1. Boeing 747-300.
  2. About the 747 Family, Boeing, retrieved 12 June 2006.
  3. "Boeing aircraft Take Qantas Further", Qantas Access date: 29 April 2006.
  4. "747-400 passenger jet is no more", Seattle PI, 17 March 2007.
  5. Flight International, 27 March - 2 April 2007
  6. 747 Model Orders and Deliveries data. Boeing, April 2009. Retrieved: 12 May 2009.
  7. Boeing, Cathay Pacific Airways Celebrate First 747-400ERF Delivery
  8. Lunsford, J. L. "Ugly in the Air: Boeing's New Plane Gets Gawks, Stares". The Wall Street Journal. 8 January 2007.
  9. " Boeing's 747 Large Cargo Freighter Development on Plan." Boeing Commercial Airplanes press release. 22 February 2005.
  10. " Boeing Selects EGAT for 747 Large Cargo Freighter Modifications." Boeing Commercial Airplanes press release. 18 February 2005.
  11. 747 Dreamlifter fact sheet.
  12. " Boeing 7E7 Will Use Air Transport for Component Delivery." Boeing Commercial Airplanes press release. 13 October 2003.
  13. " Evergreen International Airlines, Inc. to Operate Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighters." Boeing Commercial Airplanes press release. 15 December 2005.
  14. Airline Flies a 747 on Fuel From a Plant, New York Times on-line edition, December 30, 2008
  15. "World Airliner Census 2008", p. 51. Flight International, 19-25 August 2008.
  16. 747 specifications, The Boeing Company. Retrieved 16 December 2007.
  17. 747-400/-400ER Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning, Boeing. December 2002.
  18. " World: Asia-Pacific Japanese hijacker kills pilot ," BBC
  19. " Aircraft Accident Report ASC-AAR-02-04-001: Crashed on a partially closed runway during takeoff Singapore Airlines Flight 006 Boeing 747-400, 9V-SPK CKS Airport, Taoyuan, Taiwan 31 October 2000," Aviation Safety Council, Taiwan, Republic of China
  20. " Accident Investigation to a Near Mid-Air Collision"
  21. AirDisaster.Com: Accident Photo: Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 9V-SMT
  22. Qantas to Examine Oxygen Bottles, New York Times, 28 July 2008
  23. Wall, Robert. "Qantas 747 Lands After Fuselage Part Detaches", Aviation Week, 25 July 2008.
  24. Experts say no bomb in Qantas jet hole, Associated Press, 27 July 2008
  25. Aviation Safety Investigation Report, 6 March 2009

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