A look at a Boeing 747 before United retires the 'Queen of the Skies'

Tour a Boeing 747 jumbo jet at Denver International Airport as United Airlines prepares to retire the iconic aircraft from its fleet.
24:56 | 10/26/17

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Transcript for A look at a Boeing 747 before United retires the 'Queen of the Skies'
Hey gang it's flights at O'Hare ABC news comic neighbor behind the camera this morning and we are live on the ramp here at Denver International Airport on a step back. So tonic and show you. Why we are here today this is. As you may be able enough for you aviation as you might no pre aviation geeks that this is a 747. This is a basically say. A goodbye farewell tour for the 747 this plane has been in service. It's conceived dog biscuit fifty years ago came into service. And unite in United's lead in about 1970. And it is being retired so it's been on this farewell tour and we wanted to we're gonna take you inside for a little sort of little Seward Everett before we do that want to show you. On the outside here a little bit. These wings air. Huge they are 5650. Square feet which I'm told is bigger. Then a standard size NBA basketball court. Being insincere of course there are four of them this iconic. Airplane as for these it is there are that opening right there is eight feet six it is six. Inches in diameter and of course. Not many planes have for instance like this anymore and if we step back you can see the tale of the airplane back there extremely tall that it is 63. Point eight feet tall. As tall as a six story building. So this airplane. First well not this particular airplane the 747. Flu. First in 1969. And pan am in January of 1970. Took its first delivery of its 747 and in effect. Pat Nixon the first lady of the United States actually Chris in that airplane before it Lou. From New York to Europe so. Right up there as the iconic one of the things that makes this airplane so iconic is is that dome. A sort of originally conceived. As a lounge where people can hang out. Now there are there are seats up there we'll take you happen and take a look but so right now this plane is parked here. At Denver international air. Board itself have been kind of making the rounds to airports around the country as. As the day. Looms for itself ultimate retirement that's gonna get a little noisy here watching rocky ride underneath the airplane right now. I'll take a look at the landing area. These. Airplanes have. Lots of tires on of them as it gets out. And I have some of the one out. There are not duplicates that that it wouldn't be a problem but that's like sixteen tires just right there in the main gear and then another two up here. On the nose here. So we're gonna walk. We're gonna want this arrived. Tell us what's bears were gonna take care. This these stairs there are I'd go ahead. We're gonna take you on board here in the cool thing is that got a lot of people here. Worked on the 747 who have flown the 747. And at taking care passengers on the serve points. There we go inside. Thank you sir. And every Kate there'd be 32 near Denver international. And this is it. We're gonna go start up here in Nia. Forward section this is all the way to the front of the plane of course. On a 747 with the upper deck. The F flight deck is upstairs so there is no there is no cockpit door appeared just goes right to the front of the plane and very nice first class seats which. I rarely if ever get to sit in but here they articulate. Nice amenities here in the walk. This way and see if we can find hello how are you argue a crew member circling and Clayton with a ABC. The estimated coming kitchen and paddy not patty Johnson your person so what does that mean big airplane witness. That means that I didn't lead the plates let them know where they're working. Helped orchestrate anything. Courtney between it happened and how long have you worked on some terrorism. Well actually I'm day. This is the sewer and Denver is still final step of the tiller and so Denver doesn't have a lot of some 47 line. I've blown it probably twenty times there are thirty times like because I'm based here that there. It's a different kind airplanes and it's the best their mind minute hold witnesses airplane. It is like the Cadillac of airplanes. It it is like. Flying on a cloud is that that accident tests you know the upper deck in this. It's just that coolest experience and he needs Air Force One is that place that's very ends and then very distinctive look its that in a lot of plants that looked like the answer. So I'm really excited. A great certainly. This is really truly the original Jumbo jet has no it is it is. Mean originally it had this virus staircase it was a little bit smaller and upper deck and now it's it's. A larger effort it says. It means. At target releases there. Thank you for inviting us aboard we're gonna continue kind of show people around. Headed for an idea. Upstairs if we can get there that the pequots are. So this is they've got a lot of invited guests here today so lot of people on board lot of local press. Lot of united employees like she was saying there aren't a lot of 740 sevens that come through here for united. So. It's kind of a cool thing for everybody to see and we can organize tenants sneak upstairs here this was. Too many up there right now all right we'll trying to get there L Barrett suns get the captain. Yes and we took deep respect here you are captain dean which make David. Tell us a little bit about this airplane you've been a 747 driver for our nineteen years ninety union Friday. So I mean we got our first 747 and 1979. This is the 747400. We got this in 1980. And so the bottom line with this airplane it's older technology this like anything else you know as time goes on things change. This airplane was constructive and aluminum so. Mom and it's got four engines pretty every airplane takes off at 875000. Pounds 875000. Pounds. Anything goes semi 500 miles nonstop. So what that means as passengers is that now fourteen and a half hours nonstop from like San Francisco Hong Kong. And in that time through the customer experience you know you're enjoying comfort of a very large. Airplane very Ruiz like being in your house and very comfortable ride so. Leaders we are changing from these air placed a newer technology which are made of carbon fiber. You have like two engines as opposed for and on it and an example a San Francisco Hong Kong flight burns a 100000 pounds less gas and one flight. So when you're talking about greener skies and making nears a better place to be that's what it's all about so. Although this is an iconic airplane and the queen of the skies. It's time to move on in its time to celebrate the history and look forward to in the future. What was it like for you and you or given the keys so to speak to this airplane Gunther all the training right remember that first flight that person yet it period that. Probably in most remarkable thing is when you walk outside and you did that earlier this thing is just massive. You can actually stand up right underneath the airplane there's not many airplanes that you can do that with. And it's just a very very large airplane and you get into the cockpit in the cockpit area it's like your home. It is surreal to be in the cockpit and manage a big. Massive airplane like this it's still be in every relatively combine confined space so. Really comfortable fly really easy and never really a lot of funds. Review shows that happened here first asked to see what it looks like coming this view it's a true wide body though. You were in first class. In front there's fourteen cease there and then we have business class in this business. Last night here. Actually economies of turning around. It. And very comfortable lie down seen. Obviously have your own entertainment very comfortable place to be. And ended back in airplane. As we motor back. Obviously his seating is three. Paula back this airplane here screeners and passengers total. How many 375375. And these long haul flights are saying. You can go thousands of miles officer lines that this airplane was designed to go about semi 500 miles. What that means the passengers is about fourteen a half fifteen hours nonstop. The newer generation airplanes like the triple 7300 ER that we have currently. Are designed egos at 16 hours sometimes 16 am so we have some of the longest flights in the world right now operating San Francisco Singapore. We are also went when he 22. Going to be receiving a new a 35900. Which will be similar to the triple seven yard and that it goes a long distance calls. Those flights are long as soon you have to have. Multiple crew on board for that. It's out there that are crew bunks back here some more gas so we'll talk about the group on for the pilots only go look at the cockpit. For the flight attendants let's go back in the tail they would. Thank you. Dan little little crowded on board today so many people wanna check this airplay now. But before it goes away. That's a fact. But the good looking picture taking going on in. Got only. Planet minutes here taking a photograph lighted. I guys. We're live on ABC news right now I guys. North aft Galley. Aft Galley. That the very back here one. AFP. The Bob Hope and. I. It. Is and do all the way back here in the very back an airplane. It's a spiral staircase that goes up and this is where the flight attendants crew rest is Sobel. Jump up there since this Miriam let that Connor and then it will agree this can go out there so. You've got to second staircase an assessment of the most passengers never stated this blocks that this is for flight attendants only so as wanna go up there. So this is. Again this is where the flight attendants. Punk would be so. Now. It's in the field or in the tail of the airplane and the fact fact that. Connors struggling to climb up. A very narrow steep staircase. So I know you can't see this get to vote but what is what is up here for this her. So obviously I have several lay down bumps on the sides it also have. Seeks. Where they can sit haters are young captain good morning stir things were you this morning turnaround say hi. So they have seats in front that they can recline and do whatever they wants this I mean it's basically what they have and they can't down below. The bathroom facilities available. This is very cool it's a whole separate area for for people to coming out right oppression. And in he said I don't know if we heard before but we're in the tail of the your in the tail right now speech. Yes. Erica and that holds three people right. This if I were gonna come back down into the cabin here. Connor navigating down this very narrow. Very narrowed latter steep latter. Nice job on camera still working its tickets on. Our right captain gonna take us upstairs obviously this is one of the exit doors. I'm we have five doors on each side. A case of emergency there opened up the slides inflate automatically and out you go. It's really supporting it from the upper deck because the upper decks about. 55 feet off the grounds of going down a slide about 55 feet up would be of rather's forty thing that wealthy would now do. After undefeated but originally I read that that from that upper deck it was almost like. As that line to yeah its it's so. For the cockpit crew we have owners are reals where we go out we'll talk about how we can escape the cockpit but upper deck. Business class people there are exit doors and it's pretty steep incline united go down at the EB. Reaching mach one I think by the end of Eddie and that's what and you have to have the requirement is to evacuate a plane this size and how many seconds. I'm not sure with the FAA requirement that but I know it's less than two minutes yes it's very very fast. And yet to demonstrate that it we did that recently in the last years intact. Demonstrating how fast we get our crew members out but I know it I would guess it's probably one minute I just can't. All right well we're gonna have from the tail in kind of make our way back up front here. This is a fast airplane isn't it. Yes it this one flies. Normal crews and about mark 86 switches. 861 hundred's if you will of this biggest what does that mean they're basically. Roughly. 485 knots Prosser. This airplane was designed it flies just as fast or faster than any other airplane it's out in the commercials and today. Another couple of fun facts here apparently this airplane is held together by. Three million passengers right there. The how to recipes at fastener did good. Up here fastener builder maybe I area or headed up the iconic staircase. Which takes up to the second. Floor the airplane. This company. Upper deck he coveted upper deck coveted upper decks and this is business class appeared just as we head downstairs. But people liked it appeared as is this a little bit smaller little bit more. Cozy if you will answer on obviously facilities approximately. Mosey up toward the cockpit here and originally this was. A lounge right. Yes so the first some 471 hundred's there were really seats appear that resist a lounge so that was really the iconic place to be. Merry go. Number one eight. And you actually you've had have you been flying the circling on its farewell tour. Yes so I did some segments in Houston. Flew from LA to Houston and then that today in Denver so we kind of switch and off who does what when where and how. So this airplane will go to San Francisco tonight after we get done with her local flight. And in our last services the 29 about. So. I was actually in San Francisco last week in their looked like he wrote 45740. Sevens parked we're going to. But some folks out of the flight that cockpit area here. But that is where that is where the some 47 is based right. Right San Francisco absolutely used to be based in Chicago and San Francisco. And summer and LA as we shrunk the airline for basically 44. At the height some 47 down to. 22 basically in the last year we're now down Torre think there last separate. What do you hear from passengers. Who are or seeing this airplane go as so you know it it's an emotional time for some because it's been so iconic and everybody has their own personal story. I remember the Dave and I you know took my family and he made easier whatever they did so a little bit of history that they. Reminisce about and like this at this airplanes Rooney I mean we're standing up and here you don't feel cramped. It's very comfortable ride. It's a big behemoth I mean it is. It's like drive an old Cadillac and how smooth they were on the road rage that was kind of the same thing. And what will replace this airplane and so that he triple seven yard 300 ER actually on several. Also we've ordered 8359 hundredths 35 of those it will come on 20/20 two. So those airplanes. Or more efficient or carbon fiber. Little bit lighter ceiling just verses four. Travel just as far farther on a lot less gas. And customer experience that's what it's all about the cannons more efficient. More comfortable and just better for all customers. Most airlines have now retired or are retiring the 747 but you'll still see it in the heir apparent with the very popular cargo aircraft. Right in so that newer variant some 47800. It's a cargo parent that several people bought. As we did the analysis on an airplane just didn't work with their fleet plan and so we decided. To triple 7300 ER annals. We saw the aft flight attendant bounced back there we talk about these long flights Rigas half suit swap out crews get some rest you also have. Pilots bunk appears write its in the cockpit and asserted there. His news. Or if barrels that we can we can wait camp and yet you get time of yeah yeah. You gotta go lavatory is as with the sits at this mystery here is a letter. This is what is that those diseases. At the cockpit door comes open yet security procedures to ensure it can get it cockpit right of that. Brought to you live from. 2001. And probably book arrogantly issued in the in the and comfort that. In the upper deck. This and 24. Okay that's all he's all business class business class these fully reclining on an audio visual panels in nice nice way to. OK as you can imagine the flight deck is pretty crowded this morning trying to squeezing here. They collect care payers. From the pilot's perspective deemed most coveted position of all it's the the C infamous. Bunk room bunkers parents agree take a look here. Now music takes grease so. The beauty of the bond Erica is there's no lights and there's no windows Maine yes lights but there's an eyewitness really. You are yet dark. And it's really really quiet in here and so you got a full lay down here down below. This little orange thing right here's our polar suits in case we had to divert. Into Siberia or something it's horses that she could Wear a give credit good no thank god I thought I'm have nots. So that's a good thing. I'm obviously air vans to keep a cool and you know Tuesday it's just a great place to instantly it could rest. On flight. And we are just so just give people an idea where Howard just forward of that business class action right just right behind the scenes write like writes absolutely steps away right absolutely. And I guess well. Epic well that there. Still still. If we un and you get a little recliner here it now this is to sort of observers rodeo. Is this is also what you call it jump seat if you will it's and it's a more reclining wind not like the ones in front of commitment that's also received occasionally sit back relax and they're a chill. Maybe cock and Aaron just get a shot at the instrument panel here. You can talk about. Modern airlines are modern airplanes are there are basically formed with two people right is this that still the case of some 47 or. It depends on the segment links so if it's a flight less than twelve hours basically. If you go over eight hours you have two people captain and co pilot. If we go longer distance like two twelve hours will use three pilots. Captain and two co pilots. And if we go longer distance and that like Hong Kong will go with one captain and three co pilots. An hour longest range going to Singapore it will be two captains and 21 officers so. That's pretty much the way we deployed. Viewing step appear little but get a slightly better view so. This is a they've been a because an all glass cockpit or what this is you know this really modern looking. Right it's all glass it's all glass. The instruments up there tell you everything from navigation to your attitude of the airplane. These guys. FMC's Richard flight management computers. Or your map database that tell the airplane exactly where to turn how to turn what's speed to be. Well it kind of ground track to go over all that information. And then up above in the overhead panel is basically all the systems of the airplane where you basically operate the hydraulics the Electric's. In semantics with regard to that air conditioning in the airplane. Now I understand this version of this flight deck has something like 365. Switches and it which sounds like. A tremendous amount but nothing like the original. Yet so Tom would you count those for us please tell me how much he switches are next. It's it's alive. It's a lot of switches. You know and there's an in all these airplanes are built very safely with a lot of redundancies so right. You know once which doesn't really do one function there's multiple switches to. Thanks to the handy dandy united fact sheet that they give us there were apparently 971. Switches. In the earlier models I 62% decrease yeah we like like I'm right. Island ID it is less. Or less less less oral questions because all of these switches when you go through training or opportunities. For questions from your instructors to ask you so it's good to go from 971 to 360. OK great we'll thank you for this tour we want to let everybody know that. The last flight and a united 747 is actually on November 7. They are going to be flying from. San Francisco to Hawaii which actually. Recreates the first united 747 flight. I think those tickets sold out and about two minutes. Probably not gonna get a seat on Allen but you can still see it as it makes this farewell tour around the country and again you'll be seeing it cargo planes. Around in the in the skies so. Thanks guys for joining us on this tour of the queen of the skies with 747. We'll see an accent.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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