For decades, the Boeing 747 has been a paragon of aviation. It was the world's first jumbo jet, and helped usher in the modern era of air travel. But its reign as "Queen of the Skies" will officially come to an end this week as Boeing prepares to roll out its very last of the iconic aircraft.
The 747-8 freighter will be delivered to cargo airline Atlas Air on Tuesday, more than 50 years after the model was first pulled out of the hangar, Reuters reported.
First manufactured in 1968, the 747 became instantly recognizable for its wide body and trademark hump that made up part of a second deck. Through the decades, it remained a notable symbol of luxury in the skies.
Its numbers are dwindling, though, thanks to dated technology and competition from companies like Airbus. Only 44 passenger versions of the 747 remain in use, CNN reported, citing aviation analytics firm Cirium. However, there are still over 300 freighter 747s in the skies.
Numerous governments also use the 747, including the U.S. presidential aircraft, Air Force One. But in the era of ever-changing transportation technologies, the 747 has seen its dominance eclipsed by "more efficient twinjet planes," per Reuters.
Workers at the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington, told The Seattle Times of their memories working on the legendary plane. Darrell Marmion, a top engineer at Boeing who retired last November, said, "I'm retiring with my airplane. I'm actually glad at the timing, because I do care so much for the airplane."
"One of my earliest memories in life was about 5 years old and my dad taking me on a tour of the mock-up of the first 747," Marmion added. "You just look at the shape of it and you know what it is. It's timeless and classic."