Welcome, from sunny Australia!
My Aviation Page - Some
Pictures of the 747
Since a lot of people find the 747
interesting, I thought that I'd get together my collection of pictures
of it. Not all of them are the usual lot though, and that's because
taken odd ones that you normally don't get to see.
is a projected three engined version of the 747SP. It was not taken up,
but perhaps it would have been a good thing. The thinking behind the
three engines was that for such a (relatively) small plane, only three
of the big turbo-fans would be needed. They of course ended up still
||Here's a rare-ish picture - I was
in the Northwest Airlines maintenance hanger in 1995, and got to see a
747-200 being worked on extensively. There was a few levels of
scaffolding around it, so I climbed up the top and took a picture of
'Top of the Whale', as the Americans call it.
|In my job with Air Atlanta
Icelandic, I get to travel to many & varied places. One of those
trips was from Hannover in Germany to Calgary in Canada. The direction
that we flew, to cover the least distance, had us flying quite some
distance north of the equator - In the picture you can see that we're
actually 72° north here, and at 42° west that puts us around
middle of Greenland.
||When flying at altitude in the
747, we normally cruise at Mach 0.84 to 0.855 odd, but occasionally we
get some atmospheric variations that can cause the
Mach number to briefly read higher than what the plane was cruising at
only a few seconds before. This is one of those times.
|In March 2002 the
company was handing back a 747 to the owners at the end of one of the contracts, and part of that
hand-back procedure is to test many of the systems on the
plane. One of the test is to check that the high-speed
warning 'clacker' lets out a loud noise when the plane is at
the limiting indicated airspeed and also when at the limiting
mach number. So I was pretty happy they picked the right guy
to test them. On
the left you can see the plane is doing 390 knots indicated at
17,900', and has a true airspeed of 520 kts. On the right, the plane is
doing mach 0.915 which is 550kts. This is scary-fast for a 747 and I've
never come close to going that fast since. Note that the blurry photo
isn't from the plane vibrating - It was absolutely smooth - it was
merely the camera not focusing properly. The big aeroplane is capable
of going much faster though as Boeing has tested the prototype to M
0.991 or only 5kts below the speed of sound.
|After a few hours in the cold
atmosphere cruising along, the throttle cables that run from the bottom
of the throttle all the way out to the engines all shrink slightly
different amounts, and so to get the same RPM's you often have the
throttles sitting at odd angles to each other. This is what they looked
like on descent from 37,000' one day.
||This is one of the 'outflow
valves' that sits in the tail of the plane. The engines let in a pretty
regular flow or air into the cabin, and to control the pressure in the
cabin these valves are very accurately controlled automatically to
regulate that pressure. One or both can be controlled manually. The
dirty appearance of the panelwork on the exit of the valve is mainly
to smokers in the plane and their cigarette smoke leaving a stain on the paint.
|In the tail of the 747 sits a
small jet engine. When I small though, I mean that it's relatively
small - it's actually much the same as a Learjet engine, and in fact is
a modified one of those to provide a large volume of air to run the air
conditioning and start the engines. It also has two electrical
generators on the front (not seen in the pic, though if you look
carefully you can see the mounting pads) that also power the plane on
the ground. Each generator is exactly the same as the ones on the
engine, and can be swapped if need be for that reason.
Apologies for the quality of the
picture, but I had to take it at a fair angle through the front
windscreen of the plane and that always distorts the end result.
||Speaking of the APU in the tail,
the small opening that you can see there is the air inlet for it. The
APU is normally only used on the ground, though on extremely hot days
you can run it on take-off (it's normally shut down just before
the runway) to run the air conditioning to help keep the plane cool.
It's not allowed to be started in flight though, nor any electrical
power generated from it.
It makes roughly 1,000lbs (454kgs) of
thrust when operating on the ground. :)
If you look just below where the APU
sits, you can see the servicing doors. The APU can be changed away from
the main base, by means of a small winch that bolts up into the tail to
lower the old one, and to winch up the new one. However, you still need
a three storey tall ladder to work on the connections!
In the lower picture you can see
the large exhaust pipe it uses, just below it the two white navigation
lights, and below them the strobe light for the tail.
|Remember that movie 'Executive
decision" with Kurt Russell, where the good guys stormed into a 747 by
going up the avionics bay through the bottom of the plane? Well, not
surprisingly Hollywood took just a little licence when they
the mock-up of the real avionics bay. It's maybe 1/4 the size of the
in the movie. It's perhaps 1.7 metres tall, and about 60cms wide, but
goes the full width of the plane. Yes, in the floor there is a hatch
I'm nearly standing on it here to take the picture. I got into the bay
by going down the other hatch, which is a removable panel in the floor
of the passenger cabin, just in front of the #1 door on the left hand
side of the plane. You can see the racks of boxes that control our
instruments, systems, and navigation gear. They're on racks like that
they can be swapped quickly & easily.
||Standing on the same spot but
turning 90° left, you can see the very large box that contains the
nose-wheel strut assembly when it's in the up position. Also clearly
visible is the large amounts of insulation that're used to keep the
out at altitude. (Also the heat I guess, when on the ground) I haven't
quite caught in the picture, but if you look at the very top-right hand
corner you can just see part of the hand-driven winch that can be used
to lower the nose-wheel as a last resort. It's never been used in
practice, and so the later 747-400 models don't have this gadget.
There's a small spanner hanging off the side of the winch, and you use
it at the front end of the big box to undo twelve bolts that hold on
mechanism that holds the gear doors shut, and also the strut up-locks.
Once those bolts have been undone, the only thing holding the strut up
is the winch, and that takes many, many turns to let the strut down.
There's also a headphone jack point there so the crewman down there can
talk to the cockpit by the intercom. It's hard to tell from the
but there's enough room up the front to seat a good 30 odd people ...
|To push the 747 back from the
parking gate, a very powerful tug is needed. You can use a
smaller tug, but with the engines running they can easily overpower a
smaller tug. Even the bigger ones that weight up to 70- tonnes can have
trouble on icy surfaces, and so great caution is needed on days like
that from both the flight crew and ground staff. You can see the
big tow-bar that is used to connect the tug to the plane's nose-wheel
strut. The handle that the chap on the right is working on is the
hydraulic ram that raises & lowers the tow-bar so it can be
connected and released from the strut. You can also see the
small 'turn-off' lights that're on the strut, and are used to light up
the taxyways off to the side as you come up to them at night.
Also note the size of the wheel
compared to the size of the person nest to it - FWIW, the nose wheels
are exactly the same as the main wheels and so are interchangeable.
In the lower picture you can see the
hydraulic rams that make the nose wheel turn, and if you look carefully
you can also see the small wires that come down from the gear bay to
control the rams.
The thick wires on the right are the
ground power connecters, and can pass over 1,000 amps. We can get by
with one, but two is better.
Speaking of tugs, this is the
way they they're heading - No tow-bars at all. The big claw gadget that
you can see on the left of the picture goes around the nose-wheel,
grabs it and pulls it forwards onto the small pad near the centre of
the claw mechanism, then the whole lot lifts the nose-wheel by about
30cms so the whole front of the plane is supported by the tug. It's a
far more secure and better arrangement all round, and of course is a
lot safer as well. The one pictured is a 737 tug in Dusseldorf,
Germany, but one used to tow a 747 is not a great deal bigger, just
with bigger tyres & so on.
Because the weight of the plane is on the tug, it has far greater traction and manoeuvrability than the older types.
On the right is one in action, towing a Boeing 777 in Dubai.
|On the upper deck there are one
and often two escape doors, though you'd have to be pretty desperate to
use them! This picture was taken from one that I opened up when in
Paris, due to the APU not working and so the plane was getting rather
warm inside. (Hence the picture further up the page of the APU that we
took to Algiers to replace our broken one ..) The windows that you can
see are the First Officer's ones. You can see the skin patch used to
strengthen the skin around that part of the fuselage. This is pretty
normal for the older 747's, and is part of the common 'Section 41 mod'.
If you look very carefully at the bottom of the window you can see the
end of the windscreen wiper.
||This is looking back the other
way. You can see the wings drooping a little from the fuel making the
bend down, and this helps them from bending too much in flight. Looking
down you can see the forward cargo door open. The plane is parked at
'Satellite 2' at Paris's Charles-de-Gaule airport, with Satellite 3 on
the left side the picture.
|A picture taken from just behind
the nose-wheel. You can see lots of interesting things here - On the
wings the inboard high-speed ailerons are both drooping because of no
hydraulic pressure, the big flap extension mechanism fairings for the
inboard half of the inboard flaps, the inboard and outboard landing
lights on the wing roots, the air conditioning cooling air inlets for
all three units, and if you look carefully just to the right of the
small hatch in the foreground you can see the avionics bay air outlet,
which constantly dumps the cooling air from that bay to the outside air
on the ground. In the air, that hot air is used to help warm the
cargo bay. Also note the size of the person bending over near the RH
||Here are the inlet ducts for the
#1 and #2 pneumatic air conditionskits,
or as they're known by the crews as 'packs'. You can see the variable
geometry doors that control the airflow into the packs to adjust the
amount of cooling air that goes through them. On the ground, they
default to the full-cool position that you can see here. In flight,
depending on the requirements they may be less than 50% as open as
The #3 pack inlet is right over on the other side of the fuselage. The
pack exhausts are just in front of the landing gear, and are almost
impossible to see in this picture unfortunately as they're very nearly
flush with the skin. Though if you look very carefully at the landing
gear on the far left of the picture, just a little to right of where
strut goes up into the body you can see a small raised section, and
that's the exit louvres for the #3 pack.
||This a picture up the rear of a
Rolls-Royce RB-211 60,000lb thrust engine, operated by Cargolux of
Luxembourg. You can see the heavily wrinkled diffuser that helps blend
the very hot & high-speed air coming out of the turbine section
the cool & lower-speed air that comes from the big fan at the front
of the engine. By helping diffuse the air like that, it reduces the
total noise of the engine quite a lot. The older engines don't have
much effort to reduce the total noise and so even though they make less
power they make more noise.
For obvious reasons, the diffuser is
known by the crews as a 'cookie cutter'. :)
|A lot of people often wonder how
the engine is put 'in reverse' on landing to help the plane slow down.
It's done by a clever mechanism that lives in the side of the big part
of the engine cowling, and the parts that you can see here are called
the 'blocker doors'. They are hinged in the middle, and when reverse is
selected they bend up in the middle (the end of the parallel part) and
come out until they block off the airflow from the big fan at the front
of the engine.
At the same time as they're moving
inwards to block the airflow, the back half of the outer cowling
the 'translation cowling') is moving backwards to expose a set of vanes
that are angled forwards to direct the air that the blocker doors are
stopping forwards, and this is the air that generates the reverse
thrust. The air comes out at an average of about 45° or so, and can
slow the plane at a rate equal to that of light braking. The braking
effect reduces as the forward speed of the plane drops though, and in
fact we have to get out of reverse by 60kts to avoid the engines
up debris from the runway and also hot-air re-ingestion.
The early Pratt & Whitney 747
engines also had 'hot stream reversers' which are exactly the same
but in the back of the turbine section of the engine, but since the big
fan makes about 80% of the total thrust the extra complication was
deemed to be not necessary on civilian aircraft. Some military type
still use though, such as the C-17 transporter. In the lower picture on
the right you can see the bolted-down hot stream reversers. The upper
picture is of the cold stream (fan) reverser doors of a Rolls-Royce
So, what happens on landing is that
the reverse selector levers are pulled in the cockpit which moves the
blocker doors and translation cowling and when they're in position the
reverse lever unlocks to the second stage which allows the pilot to
the lever up to rev the engine up to make reverse thrust. At no point
does the engine stop and spin the other way.
The reverse is that good on the 747
that if you're very light you can back the plane up with idle reverse.
Or so I'm told ... :)
aren't the most reliable device. It's not uncommon to have one jam
halfway when it begins to stow, and so it either has to be manually
wound back to the stowed position or if that doesn't work partially
pulled apart to get all the sections stowed then locked-out until it
can be repaired properly. In these two photos you can see the blocker
doors stuck halfway and the translation cowl also stuck about halfway.
You can see the green guide vanes that help divert the cold stream
airflow forwards, to produce reverse thrust.
||This is the rear engine mount for
the 747 engine. This particular one is a Rolls-Royce, but they're all
much the same. Surprisingly small, but terribly strong indeed. Just
above the bar you can see the hydraulic reservoir for that engine. (I
think that this is the #2 engine) and also just in front of that the
air-driven hydraulic pump that supplements the engine-driven hydraulic
|Okay, for those budding airport
designers out there, THIS is what we want! - A nice, shiny mirrored
front to the terminal so we in the cockpit can see what's happening
on the ground.
This picture was taken at Tenerife
South airport, and I also got the picture below this one there taken at
the same time.
||I've always wanted to get a
picture of me standing in an engine, as just about all the 747 drivers
have one, so I took off my shoes and hopped up into #2 engine and got
the Flight Engineer to take my picture. So there I was, with a dopy
on my face when I realised that all those people standing up against
mirrored glass in the picture above where my next load of passengers
The piloting types might notice some
lumps & bumps in the fan blades, but this this pretty normal for an
average engine and nothing to worry about.
And no, girls, my bum isn't that big
it's just the angle that the picture was taken, trust me!
|When you check-in all your bags,
they eventually end up in an 'LD3 container' just like this one. It's a
palletised system that's used to make the loading & unloading of
plane faster & easier. The angled edge on the left hand side you
see is because the floor of the cargo bay isn't as wide as the total
width of the bay, and so to fill up all the space they're angled like
that. So no, unlike in the movies you can't move between the
containers as they're hard up against each other and locked down. The
pallet is about 1.8 metres tall I think.
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Take a moment to find
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- It's not what you think!
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