Why DOES the 747 have a hump? | Blogs | Smithsonian
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Why DOES the 747 have a hump?

I never really understood how colossal that behemoth plane, the 747, is until I stood next to the front landing gear and looked up. I was at the press conference for the opening of "America by Air," a new exhibition opening Saturday at the National Air and Space Museum.Hanging on the wall is some...

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I never really understood how colossal that behemoth plane, the 747, is until I stood next to the front landing gear and looked up. I was at the press conference for the opening of " America by Air," a new exhibition opening Saturday at the National Air and Space Museum.

Hanging on the wall is some 36 feet of the front fuselage of a 747; the entire airplane is 231 feet long. You can also climb up several flights of stairs and take a peek into the cockpit. You can see the controls and the hundreds of instruments.

For such an incredibly huge airplane, it's odd that it's so cramped in there--smaller than my cubicle! Seating for the pilot, co-pilot and navigator is really tight. Sitting hour after hour in that tiny cockpit can't be much of a joy ride.

So what's up with that camelback hump on a 747?

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