Joe Sutter, “the father of the 747”, has sadly passed away at the age of 95. Joe Sutter was born on March 21st, 1921 in Seattle, living very close to the iconic Boeing Field (KBFI). At the age of 19 he began working at Boeing whilst studying at the University of Washington.
Joe played a large role in the development of both the 707 and 737, but gained his claim to fame with the design of the 747. The 747 was an aircraft that revolutionised the aviation industry mostly by being the first aircraft to sport two decks. The aircraft provided new opportunities with it’s large range and huge passenger capacity. At the time of it’s birth, there were very few men working on the aircraft as Boeing used most of their man power trying to develop an aircraft that could compete with Concorde. When Boeing decided to scrap their idea for a supersonic passenger aircraft, they moved their man power over to the 747. The team behind the 747, lead by Joe. The team had been deemed the Incredibles by Boeing with their staggering turn around time in the initial production of the aircraft. It took them just 29 months from conception to roll out of the first model.
By July of this year the 747 has now had 1,523 units produced and is today the most iconic aircraft that Boeing produced. With the plane slowly loosing popularity, the age of the dual engine aircraft is taking over – especially as Boeing now sells many more 787s and 777s than they do 747s.
The aircraft still remains a piece of incredible history for Boeing and holds a special place for enthusiasts and pilots alike.
Rest in Peace Joe, you will be missed by the aviation world.