It has taken decades, but the aviation industry has now accepted that airliners are safe enough flying over oceans—no matter how far—with only two engines, not three or four. The Daily Best, says that’s the real message behind Boeing’s new deal with its machinists’ union to build the next version of its 777 airliner in the Pacific Northwest.
From the beginning of the jet age, safety regulators wanted an assurance that if an airliner had an engine failure over water, it could still make it back to land—and that meant having at least two functioning engines left. There have been no instances of a twin-engined jet, having lost power, having to ditch in the ocean. But there has been one white-knuckle ride for the passengers of a United Airlines 777 flying nonstop from New Zealand to Los Angeles. The plane lost the power of one engine beyond the halfway point and diverted to Hawaii’s Big Island. Against strong headwinds, it took 192 minutes to reach the runway. Ironically, with this new version of the 777, Boeing will eventually be killing off the demand for its legendary 747, the truly transforming and much loved machine that was the first airplane to bring overseas travel to the world’s masses in the 1970s.
Check out the very interesting article here.
In other news, two weeks ago marked the 44th anniversary of the first commercial 747 flight. On Jan. 22, 1970, the first Boeing 747 (operated by Pan Am) left JFK for London Heathrow. The 747 would go on to hold the passenger capacity record for 37 years, with the 747-400 model capable of seating up to 624 people (of course the A380-800 has a capacity up to 853 in all-economy config).