Final Boeing 747: Pilots of the aircraft draw crown in the air

Boeing has ceased production of the 'Queen of the Skies' after 50 glorious years.
Ameya Paleja
Atlas Air pilots paid a tribute to the 747
Atlas Air pilots paid a tribute to the 747


Pilots of Atlas Air, a cargo freighter, paid a fitting tribute to the iconic 747 model after Boeing delivered the last aircraft earlier this week. The pilots drew the number 747 and topped it with a crown soon after they departed Paine Field airport towards Cincinnati Airport on its maiden flight, fight tracking service, Flightradar said in a tweet.

FlightAware, another flight service, also made a small clip of this tribute.

The 747 model from Boeing, fondly known as the 'Queen of the Skies', is an iconic piece of aviation, having transported passengers and cargo for over 50 years. Boeing has now ceased production of the four-engine aircraft, one of the safest aircraft flying in the world, as airlines look for more fuel-efficient ways to transport people across the planet.

The last 747 delivery

On January 31, thousands of people gathered at Boeing's Everett aircraft manufacturing facility in Washington State as the American airplane maker handed over the final 747 aircraft to Atlas Air.

The aircraft registered as N863GT made a dramatic entrance at the event as the hangar's door slid sideways. The plane was revealed behind flags of liveries of every carrier that has ever taken delivery of a 747, CNN reported. A small decal right next to the nose of the aircraft pays homage to Joe Sutter, the man who was the chief engineer of the 747 programs and brought us the plane that shrank the world.

At its prime, the 747 was a flagship carrier for many airliners, offering a lounge or premium seating in the iconic hump in the aircraft design. Over the years, the airlines began adding more seats to ferry more passengers on each flight, and at times the 747 has carried up to 550 passengers.

The first flight

With the aviation sector looking for more fuel efficiency, passenger air travel has rapidly shifted to twin-engine aircraft. The massive capacity of the 747 is being used to ferry cargo these days. Atlas Air has 56 aircraft in its fleet; the newest aircraft has just begun operations.

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That the pilots would make the monogram in the sky as part of the aircraft's flight plan is something that we saw the A380, the biggest aircraft from Airbus, do as well on its short-lived journey in aviation. However, the pilots at Atlas Air executed a much more complex design, and that too to this perfection. This is again a reminder of how well this aircraft was designed, making it a top favorite among pilots.

In the past, Interesting Engineering reported how pilots made perfect monograms in the sky to send a social message during COVID. However, the tribute from Atlas Air pilots is also surprisingly heartwarming. Perhaps, that's the impact the 747 has had on all our lives.

The Queen of the Skies!

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