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The Boeing 747 is about as iconic as it gets for airplanes. After 54 years, the last 747 was made. The reign is over. The “Queen of the Sky” is passing down her crown, but not before she drew a massive farewell image with her flight path in the sky. 

The last 747 flight path on a map shows "747" underneath a crown
The last 747 flight path | Flightradar24

Is the Boeing 747 still used?

Even though the last 747 (-8F, to be specific) just rolled off the factory floor, the 747 will still certainly be used for the foreseeable future. Atlas Airlines got the last one. To pay homage to the icon of air travel, the crew of the last 747 paused their trip over Washington state to draw a massive crown with “747” written inside of it. 

As you might imagine, the Boeing flight plan photo is surprisingly massive. According to The Drive, the Atlas crew covered a monster distance to make the impressively crisp design in the sky. Due to the size of the tribute, it took over two and a half hours to complete the sky mural. The image required seriously technical flying. After drawing the tribute, the crew flew directly to the Cincinnati Atlas Airlines hub. 

The Boeing 747 got a proper send-off

The last Boeing 747 parked with Atlas logos painted on
The last Boeing 747 | Boeing

According to the BBC, a huge crowd showed up to send the Queen off in a flurry of cheers. Along with thousands of others, John Travolta reportedly showed up to pay his respects, as he is an avid aviation enthusiast. The Drive even notes that Travolta has even flown a 747-400 before. 

Among the crowd was also the original team who developed the 747. Revolutionizing avionics only took the team 28 months. This massive plane was the first of its kind. It was a twin-aisle double-decker jetliner that could ferry passengers across the Atlantic or anywhere else, for that matter, in comfort. 

What is going to replace the 747? 

The Drive says that there is no four-engined double-decker to replace the 747. This is only because modern avionics show that twin-engined widebody jets can do the same thing without burning so much fuel. Given the fuel cost, giant planes with four engines feel too old-school ever to be made again. 

The 747 is truly the last of its kind. We will never see another plan like it. While this is a paradigm shift, airplanes are long overdue for a major update. This looks to be the first step to moving into the next big thing in aviation. 

Hopefully, the next major leap in flying comes in the form of alternative fuels or even alternative power sources altogether. The effect on climate change alone would be worth the price of admission, even if it means us losing icons like the 747. RIP to the Queen of the Skies. She flew big and brilliantly for over half a century. We will miss her. 

And, hey, who knows? The next step might be even cooler than the cartoonishly massive Boeing 747. Only time will tell. Until then, key your eyes to the sky. 


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