Boeing 747-400, Why is it called that?

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The Boeing range of planes goes from the 727 all the way up to the 787 dreamliner.

The list of the planes according to size is:






747, -so why is the Boeing jumbo jet, the largest of them all not called the 787 (well that is now the name for the Dreamliner but when the 747-400 was first made the 787 name was available)

I am just wondering why Boeing did this.....




  1. In addition - the 707 was larger then the 727 that followed it, the 737 was smaller again (though is now bigger then both the 727 and 757 after lengthening)

    One plane that is out of sequence is the 717 but that isn't a new Boeing design. Its a rebadged McDonnell Douglas MD-95 following Boeing's takeover of McDonnell Douglas in the 1990s

  2. 747 is the shell make




    -400 r all variants, the bigger the number, the larger the plane in length

  3. Ask Boeing? but the 747 or any Boeing the number that preceeds  are series number like 737- 200,300 400,500 and the New Geneartion series 600, 700 & 800. B747 has a series 100SP it is called then. It has 200, 300 & now 400 series.

  4. because...

  5. The numbers are in order (except for the 717) of production date and not actual size.

    So, the 787 is named as such, not due to it's size, but it is the most recent one.

    I hope this helps answer your question.

  6. The 727 and 737 came out before the 747 next was the 757 then the 767 and so on. The first three digits do not actually refer to the size of the plane just that happens to be the order they came out. The 3 digits after the first 3 is what tells the size of the aircraft. The 747-400 is the largest of 4 models of the 747. The 747-200 being the smallest of the 747's, but still a 747.

  7. It has to do with the order they are introduced, the 747 was first flown in 1969, the 757 in 1979, the 767 in 1981, and the 777 in 1994.

  8. the order of introduction is correct for the first three numbers.  However the second three (400) is the "version" number.  That means that the 747-400 is the 4th revision of the 747 since it's introduction.  If you have photos you can spot a 400 because it has a much bigger second floor and it's the only 400 to have winglets (the small vertical wing at the end of the main wings).

  9. Not much to add to other answers. They were basically numbered in the order they were first manufactured - don't forget the 707. The 717 was omitted from that list, and pencilled in later as a kind of successor to the MD80 series taken over when Boeing took over McDonnell Douglas. Why those numbers? Well, why not? Why 8086, 80286 etc?

    Boeing (and, for that matter, Airbus) tend to number variants of the main type in -100's. So the first Boeing 747 was the 747-100, the second was the -200 ... up to the -400, which is the most recent. These numbers aren't linked to number of passengers (in any case, the number of passengers in an airliner depends upon how it is fitted out - there are -400's which are only set up to carry a few people). It is just an index. The Airbus A340 goes up to the 340-600.

    Also, not all variants are covered in this scheme. The ugly 747 SP doesn't follow the pattern. That's the short, stubby one with the tail that tapers away.

  10. 400 PEOPLE

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