The Mighty 747
Australia’s Queen of the Skies
by Jim Eames
Published by Allen & Unwin
RRP $32.99 in paperback | ISBN 9781760877118
Variously described as the world’s most iconic commercial aircraft, the Boeing 747’s Australian story began with the Qantas decision in 1967 to cast aside initial doubts about the aircraft and order four Boeing 747s.
From its first Qantas flight in 1971, the Boeing 747 flew millions of people to Australia, overseas for work, back to their homelands, on holiday and out of danger.
For most Australians, the 747 was their first experience of international travel.
For Qantas, the introduction of the 747 meant big investment in infrastructure to support the maintenance of the aircraft at the airline’s Mascot headquarters. Still a government-owned airline at the time, government approval was needed to finance the purchase.
The introduction of the 747 proved to be a watershed in aviation technology as well as a watershed in air travel affordability for the travelling public.
Among its variants was the 747-400, which set a world distance record from London to Sydney.
The familiar shape of the Qantas 747 departed Australia’s skies for the last time in 2020, nearly fifty years after its introduction to the Qantas fleet.
VERDICT: Jim Eames’ deep dive into the history of the 747 is sure to please readers with an interest in aviation history and a nostalgia for a wonderful aeroplane now lost to our skies.