Joe Sutter, ‘Father of the Boeing 747’, dies age 95
Joe Sutter, has died aged 95. Joe led the development of the 747 Jumbo Jet built by Boeing. The success of flying such a huge aircraft is incredible. He will be rememebered as a legend in the aerospace field. Boeing’s commercial aircraft boss Ray Conner said Sutter was “an inspiration” not just to Boeing but “to the entire aerospace industry”.
The 747, which ushered in the long-haul travel era, first flew in 1969 before making its commercial debut in 1970. It only lost its status as the biggest passenger aircraft in 2007 with the launch of the Airbus A380. Sutter was in charge of the engineering team that developed the 747 in the mid-1960s.
He and his team became known as “the Incredibles” for producing the world’s largest airplane in just 29 months.
Ironically, Boeing did not initially expect to produce many passenger-carrying 747s.
In the 1960s, the future of commercial aviation was widely expected to be with supersonic airliners. The subsonic 747 was expected to become obsolete after a production run of about 400 craft.
Boeing thought it would largely be used as a freighter – which was why the pilots’ cabin was placed on an upper deck – giving the aircraft its distinctive humped silhouette.
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