As we see fewer and fewer Boeing 747 aircraft in active duty, the 14th of April 1966 saw the 1st order in the books! On This Day In Aviation History, the B747 launch customer placed its order.
Juan Trippe, the founder of PanAm, signed a contract on this date with Boeing (on their 50th anniversary) for the purchase of 25 Boeing 747-100. The new jet designed by the man that worked on the successful Boeing 737 program, Joe Sutter, would revolutionise air travel in the decades to come!
As the launch customer (PanAm ordered the aircraft of the drawing board) had some influence in the development of the aircraft. The first B747 rolled out of the factory on the 30th of September 1968. After months of completing and ground testing, the Boeing 747 took flight on the 9th of February 1969.
After 10 months of ground testing, the Boeing 747 received its certificate of airworthiness in December 1969.
The first commercial flight Boeing 747 flight took place on the 22nd of January when PanAm flew a Boeing 747 from New York to London.
Interesting fact on the first flight, the flight arrived about 6 hours late and was performed by a "spare" aircraft as the originally scheduled aircraft developed engine trouble during taxi out!