747: Creating the World's First Jumbo Jet and Other Adventures From a Life in Aviation

Sutter, Joe (with) Spenser, Jay

Published by Smithsonian Books 2nd printing, 2006
ISBN 10: 0060882417 / ISBN 13: 9780060882419
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xvi, 272 p., photos, Index, 8vo; Fine/Fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis:

747 is the thrilling story behind "the Queen of the Skies" -- the Boeing 747 -- as told by Joe Sutter, one of the most celebrated engineers of the twentieth century, who spearheaded its design and construction.

Born in 1921 in Seattle, Sutter grew up on a hilltop overlooking the Boeing plant and flying field. It was a thrilling era of open cockpits, silk scarves, leather helmets, and goggles. After serving in World War II, Sutter joined Boeing, then a small company, eager to build airplanes.

In July 1965, he was asked to lead the large Boeing team designing the new 747. Pan Am wanted a new airliner as quickly as possible. This all-new transport had to be far bigger than anything in service or even on anybody's drawing board. To make it fly, Sutter and his team would have to push far beyond the technological boundaries of the late 1960s. Could it be done?

Almost everything about the 747 would be unprecedented. Its cabin would be so wide that it would need two aisles. Its horizontal tail would be bigger than the wings of most airliners ever built. Jet engines big enough to lift it off the ground didn't yet exist. Runways at the world's airports couldn't handle it, and neither could Boeing's factories. They had to erect the world's largest building just to produce it. A truly mammoth undertaking, the 747 became one of the most successful airplane models ever.

Sutter's vivid narrative takes us back to a time when American technology was cutting-edge -- the 747 came on the market the same year that men first set foot on the moon -- and jet travel was still glamorous and new. With wit and warmth, he gives an insider's sense of the larger-than-life-size personalities -- and the tensions -- in the aeronautical world. Ultimately, 747 is an inspiring story of grit and glory.

About the Author:

Joe Sutter led the team of engineers that created the Boeing 747. He served on the Presidential Commission to investigate the Challenger explosion with Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, and Richard Feynman. Now in his eighties, he still serves as a consultant to Boeing. He lives in Seattle.



Jay Spenser has spent a lifetime studying aviation as a museum curator at the National Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Flight, and as an aerospace industry writer. He is the co-author of 747 and lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: 747: Creating the World's First Jumbo Jet ...
Publisher: Smithsonian Books 2nd printing
Publication Date: 2006

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