The powerful Boeing 747 has been an integral feature of commercial passenger operations for decades, despite the type’s slow decline in the aviation industry. It continues to be essential to cargo operations today, moving significant cargo throughout the globe. However, its enormous bulk and capacity to support heavy loads come at a price. In order to perform safe takeoffs and landings, the Queen of the Skies does, in fact, need a long runway.
The minimum landing distance will depend on a wide range of variables, as you are aware if you’ve spent any time reading our articles or have even a rudimentary understanding of aviation. The graphic below, which displays the length of the landing runway for the Boeing 747-400, provides a clear visual of this.
According to Fleugzeuginfo.net, a 747-400 weighs 184,567 kg when empty (406,900 lbs). Even in the best-case scenario, we would still need to increase this figure by a few thousand kilos (or pounds) to account for the fuel, seats, passengers, crew, and cargo that are present in a functioning jumbo jet.
The graphic indicates that the recommended runway length would be just over 1,500 meters, or nearly 5,000 feet, if a Boeing 747-400 had an operational landing weight of 475,000 lbs (215,456 kg) and intended to land at a runway located at sea level. This distance is comparable to the length of London City Airport as a real-world illustration.
Naturally, depending on the model of 747 being evaluated, different runway lengths will be needed. After all, the 747Sp has an empty weight that is over 37,000 kg lower than the 747-400!
The bigger and heavier 747-8 was able to land with even less distance, according to pilot and Quora writer Ty Joseph.
Joseph points out that Boeing practiced an emergency landing when conducting cold weather and landing tests in Iqaluit, Cᴀɴᴀᴅᴀ, utilizing no more than 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) of runway. He adds that the thrust reversers were set to 100% upon landing, and the jet was at Flaps 30. The pilot was manually braking in addition to the speed brakes being set to automatic and autobrakes being activated. A safety system also deflated the tires due to the brakes’ extreme temperature (believed to be around 700°C).
Even though it’s off-topic from the main point of this essay, it’s noteworthy to notice what is necessary when an aircraft lands on a runway that is typically too small for regular operations. Leaving the passengers on the ground and taking off with the least amount of fuel allowed an Eᴛʜɪᴏᴘɪᴀn Airlines 767 that had inadvertently landed at the wrong airport to successfully take off.
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Video resource: The Pilot Channel