Concorde aside, Boeing 747 – the Queen of the Skies – is arguably world’s best known aircraft types. It was the first ever wide-body aircraft. And, thanks to its iconic hump on the front part of its fuselage, it’s one of the easiest aircraft to recognize.
The aircraft has evolved significantly since it took off for the first time in 1969.And so, the specifications of the 747 are highly dependent on the specific variant of the aircraft.
Here’s a brief summary of specs of all the 747 variants:
- Weight (OEW): 337,100 – 485,300 pounds (152.9 – 220.1 tons)
- Weight (MTOW): 700,000 – 987,000 pounds (320.0 – 447.7 tons)
- Length: 184 feet 9 inches – 250 feet 2 inches (56.30 – 76.25 meters)
- Tail height: 63 feet 5 inches – 65 feet 5 inches (19.3 -19.9 meters)
- Wingspan: 195 feet 8 inches – 224 feet 7 inches (59.6 – 68.4 meters)
- Wing area: 5,500 – 5,960 square feet (511 – 554 square meters)
- Range: 4,620 – 7,730 nautical miles (8,560 – 14,320 kilometers)
- Exit limit (capacity): 400 – 660 passengers
Continue reading for more details about each of the variants.
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Boeing 747 Weight
There are two different weights of the Boeing 747 that we will take a look at: maximum take-off weight (MTOW) and empty operating weight (OEW).
While the first – as its name suggests – indicates how heavy an aircraft can be when it takes off, the second one gives the aircraft’s weight without its payload (usable fuel, passengers and cargo, catering, etc.).
The lightest variant of the 747 is the 747SP which has an OEW of 337,100 pounds (152.9 tons) and a MTOW of 700,000 pounds (320.0 tons). The heaviest variant is the 747-8 which has an OEW of 485,300 pounds (220.1 tons) and a MTOW of 987,000 pounds (447.7 tons).
The 747-100 has a MTOW of 735,000 pounds (333.0 tons) , the 747-200 and 747-300 of 833,000 pounds (378.0 tons), and the 747-400 of 875,000 pounds (396.9 tons). The “ER” version of the “-400” has – at 910,000 pounds (412.8 tons) – a slightly higher MTOW than the standard one.
As for the OEW of these variants, it’s 379,500 pounds (172.1 tons) for the 747-100; 375,100 pounds (170.1 tons) for the 747-200; 384,000 pounds (174.0 tons) for the 747-300; 404,600 pounds (183.5 tons) for the 747-400; and 412,300 pounds (187.0 tons) for the 747-400ER.
Keep in mind that the OEW of an aircraft can vary slightly depending on the type of engines it is equipped with and whether it’s the passenger or cargo version.
To sum it up, depending on the variant, a Boeing 747 aircraft weighs anywhere between 337,100 pounds (152.9 tons) and 485,300 pounds (220.1 tons) in terms of its empty operating weight. And, its maximum take-off weight is between 700,000 pounds (320.0 tons) and 987,000 pounds (447.7 tons).
Boeing 747 Length
As mentioned in the introduction, the Boeing 747-100 is 231 feet 10 inches (70.66 meters) long. In fact, three of the variants that followed it – the 747-200, the 747-300, and the 747-400 are the exact same length.
Boeing 747-8, the type’s latest variant, is 250 feet 2 inches (76.25 meters) long. That makes it not only the longest model of the Boeing 747 but also the longest airliner type in the world.
On the other end of the spectrum lies the Boeing 747SP which, at 184 feet 9 inches (56.30 meters), is considerably shorter than any of the five other 747 variants.
To sum it up, depending on the variant, a Boeing 747 aircraft is anywhere between 184 feet 9 inches (56.30 meters) and 250 feet 2 inches (76.25 meters) long.
Boeing 747 Tail Height
While there are slight differences in the tail height of the different 747 variants, the differences are minor. More specifically, they are smaller than 25 inches.
To sum it up, depending on the variant, a Boeing 747 aircraft is anywhere between 63 feet 5 inches (19.3 m) and 65 feet 5 inches (19.9 m) high.
Boeing 747 Wingspan and Wing Area
All of the classic 747s – the “-100,” “-200,” “-300,” and “SP” – have the same wingspan of 195 feet 8 inches (59.6 m) and wing area of 5,500 square feet (511 square meters).
The most popular 747-400 has a wingspan of 211 feet 5 inches (64.4 m) and wing area of 5,650 square feet (525 square meters).
The 747-8 has the largest wingspan of all the variants, measuring 224 feet 7 inches (68.4 meters). That also results in it having – at 5,960 square feet (554 square meters) – the largest wing area of all the 747s.
To sum it up, depending on the variant, a Boeing 747’s wingspan is anywhere between 195 feet 8 inches (59.6 m) and 224 feet 7 inches (68.4 meters) resulting in a wing area between 5,500 square feet (511 square meters) and 5,960 square feet (554 square meters).
Boeing 747 Range
While some airlines used – and still use – the Queen of the Skies on domestic and other short-haul routes, it is generally a long-haul aircraft. As such, it can fly for more than ten hours non-stop, connecting some of the most distant city pairs.
Unsurprisingly, the original 747-100 has – at 4,620 nautical miles (8,560 kilometers) – the shortest range of the 747 family. All three other classic 747 variants can fly further than that – although the 747-300 has a range shorter than the 747-200.
The 747-8 can, on the other hand fly furthest. It has a range of 7,730 nautical miles (14,320 kilometers). The 747-400ER has nearly identical range while the regular 747-400 is about 450 nautical miles shorter.
To sum it up, depending on the variant, a Boeing 747 boasts range that’s anywhere between 4,620 nautical miles (8,560 kilometers) and 7,730 nautical miles (14,320 kilometers).
Boeing 747 Capacity
While there are numerous ways to look at an airliner’s capacity, let’s take a look at the Boeing 747 in terms of its exit limit – i.e. the maximum number of passengers it is certified to carry.
Of course, in reality, the aircraft are more often than not configured less densely and feature much less seats. Also, the exit limit of the same aircraft type can vary depending on its emergency exit configuration.
With an exit limit of 400 passengers, the 747SP has the lowest capacity of all the 747 variants. On the other end are 747-300s and 747-400s which, in one of their two emergency exit configurations, have an exit limit of 660 passengers (and 550 in the other).
The classic 747-100s and 747-200s have an exit limit of 440 or 550 passengers depending on the configuration, and the latest 747-8 of 495 or 605 passengers.
To sum it up, depending on the variant, a Boeing 747 has a capacity of – in terms of its exit limit – anywhere between 400 and 660 passengers.
The table below shows the weight, length, wingspan, and other information about each of the 747 variants. As you can see, some of the specs are shared among a number of variants while others are unique to a single variant.
|MTOW||735,000 lbs||700,000 lbs||833,000 lbs||833,000 lbs||875,000 lbs||987,000 lbs|
|OEW||379,500 lbs||337,100 lbs||375,100 lbs||384,000 lbs||404,600 lbs||485,300 lbs|
|Length||231 ft 10 in||184 ft 9 in||231 ft 10 in||231 ft 10 in||231 ft 10 in||250 ft 2 in|
|Tail Height||63 ft 5 in||65 ft 5 in||63 ft 5 in||63 ft 5 in||63 ft 8 in||63 ft 6 in|
|Wingspan||195 ft 8 in||195 ft 8 in||195 ft 8 in||195 ft 8 in||211 ft 5 in||224 ft 7 in|
|Wing Area||5,500 sq ft||5,500 sq ft||5,500 sq ft||5,500 sq ft||5,650 sq ft||5,960 sq ft|
|Range||4,620 nm||5,830 nm||6,560 nm||6,330 nm||7,285 nm||7,730 nm|
|Exit limit||440 or 550||400||440 or 550||550 or 660||550 or 660||495 or 605|
Perhaps the most unique of the five is the Boeing 747SP which is the shortest and lightest – properties that allowed it to be the longest range one when it was introduced. Later, of course, the full-sized 747s were capable of flying even further than the 747SP.