Boeing 747 Queen of the Skies
By: Owen Zupp
When Boeing’s 747 took to the air for the first time in 1969, it was instantly iconic of not only how far airliner technology had progressed, but also how much air travel had come within reach of the public at large. The 747 brought the term “Jumbo Jet” into our vocabulary and showed that true mass transportation by air between continents was a reality and could be done at a level of comfort and luxury once provided by the ocean liners of eras past in a fraction of the time. The 747 did this not only with passengers, but also with freight.
The curtain is slowly but surely falling on the 747 these days, and a good retrospective book or two on the machine is certainly justified. Happily, Owen Zupp has given us this book as a retrospective of the 747. As Mr. Zupp is from Australia, it’s only fitting that this book have it’s focus on 747 service with his homeland’s national airline: QANTAS.
The first thing that may catch the reader’s eye about this book is the image on the front cover: a QANTAS 747 taking off with an extra engine under one of the wings. While this ability to carry an extra engine was not unique to the 747, it certainly caused many observers to shake their heads and look twice when they saw a 747 in that configuration.
Mr. Zupp details in a very clear manner how and why a 747 would have the extra engine attached to it as well as the process of attaching and detaching that engine from the aircraft. In one chapter, he describes a QANTAS flight from Australia to South Africa where the outbound 747 carried an extra engine to be fitted to another QANTAS 747 that had been stranded in South Africa and needed a new engine in order to be able to fly home.
Each chapter of the book focuses on a different aspect of working around the 747, be it as aircrew or groundcrew, and every chapter makes clear the engineering marvel the 747 is. Also brought across very well is how friendly the aircraft was for those working with it at any level, testament to the consideration and forethought the Boeing designers put into the machine while creating it.
As for the book itself, it’s a very accessible read that provides a satisfying account of the 747 from an Australian angle. It’s technical enough that you’re left with no doubts of the author’s knowledge of the subject and qualification to speak on it, yet plainspoken enough to be quite suitable for the general interest audience.
With a flying career spanning around 50 years, many of those in airline service, Mr. Zupp is certainly a qualified and authoritative voice on a subject such as this.
Buy with confidence.
This link will take you to the book’s page on the author’s website:
747 Queen of the Skies