Re: MD-11F vs. 747-400F Design Philosophies

From: (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
Date:         09 Apr 96 14:22:51 
References:   1 2 3 4 5
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In article <airliners.1996.431@ohare.Chicago.COM>, kls@ohare.Chicago.COM
(Karl Swartz) wrote:

> The 747 did grow out of a proposal for
> what became the C5 Galaxy, and putting the cockpit above the main deck
> was done with cargo in mind, but the 747 and MD-11 were both designed
> mainly as passenger aircraft, with suitability for cargo a secondary
> consideration.

According to the folks in our (Boeing's) "history" department, the 747
was, in fact, designed with cargo as a primary consideration.  Juan Tripp
of Pan Am, and probably others, felt at the time that the ulitmate future
of passenger transportation lay in the upcoming SSTs.  However, he wanted
a fast flagship for Pan Am, one which could carry more passengers than the
existing airplanes, and he wanted it sooner than the SSTs would be
available.  He envisioned the 747 as a "stopgap" which would provide him
with a big, fast plane to meet his immediate needs, and then be converted
to cargo service when the SST came on line.  So, in fact, the design of
the 747 was really dictated by it's anticipated future service which was
to be as a freighter.  That's why it was given a raised cockpit- there
would have been no reason to do so if the plane was intended for passenger
service only.

Of course, the SST plans fizzled, and the 747 went on to becoming the
excellent passenger plane it still is, although it does even better as a
freighter.  Incidentally, the Boeing SST, for which a full-size mockup was
constructed, would have been almost as large as the 747 (not in body
diameter, but in length and wingspan.  It would have been much larger than
the Concorde, which is actually a fairly small plane by today's
standards.  There used to be a full-size painted profile of the Boeing SST
on the north wall of the Developmental Center high-bay building on Boeing
Field.  When I joined the company in 1979, the mockup was long gone, and
the profile had been painted over.  But as the brown paint faded, the
profile would begin to "ghost" through.  I remember being very impressed
by its size.

C. Marin Faure
author, Flying A Floatplane