747 jumbo jet exhibit coming to Delta museum

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The 747 Experience exhibit opens at the Delta Flight Museum on March 28. Credit: Kent D. Johnson / AJC

The Boeing 747 jumbo jet, one of the most recognizable planes in aviation, will soon be the focus of a new exhibit at the Delta Flight Museum near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The “747 Experience” exhibit opens March 28 at the museum that sits on Delta’s headquarters campus on the north side of the world’s busiest airport.

The exhibit is inside a retired 747-400 that Delta parked in the museum parking lot. Visitors will have a chance to walk out onto the wing of a 747, see the cockpit and learn about the inner workings of the plane.

The 747 is expected to be a big draw — so much so that the museum is raising the price of regular adult admission including the 747 exhibit to $15, up $2.50. The museum will open for a special “747 day” on March 29, when the entry fee will be $7.47.

Delta also plans to rent out the plane for events like corporate cocktail parties or dinners, bar mitzvahs and proms, and for film shoots featuring scenes on a plane.

For more about the exhibit, the history of the 747 and what it took to set up the jumbo jet exhibit, read more and check out additional photos and videos on MyAJC.com.

Fun facts on the 747

  • Those seated at the front of the plane on the main level are actually in the nose, ahead of and below the pilots on the upper deck.
  • Pan Am asked Boeing to design the 747. “[Pan Am founder] Juan Trippe envisioned the plane that could fly 500 people from continent to continent. He also had this really strong vision that he wanted a double-decker plane. He wanted a plane that looked like an ocean liner when you saw it from the side,” said Timothy Frilingos, manager of exhibits at the Delta Flight Museum. Boeing engineer Joe Sutter, known as the ‘Father of the 747,’ “knew the double-decker wasn’t going to work. It didn’t test well in wind tunnels, and also it was really felt impossible that it could be safely evacuated” within FAA time limits, Frilingos said.
  • When the 747 was designed in the 1960s, “the idea was in 10 years, 15 years, nobody would be flying these kind of jets anymore. Passengers would be on supersonic jets,” Frilingos said. As a result, the 747’s iconic hump was designed to allow it to be easily converted into a cargo jet that could be loaded through the nose.” To enable that, the cockpit was raised — creating the hump, with the upper deck and more passenger seats.
  • The 747 is one of three planes parked outside the Delta museum, but the only one that serves as such an exhibit. Also on display outside the museum are a DC-9 and a Boeing 757.
  • At the Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark in Oregon, you can ride a waterslide out of a 747 that sits on top of a building. That jumbo jet is a former Delta plane that was eventually sold to Evergreen International Airlines and converted into a cargo jet before it was retired.

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