Today in 1972 Lufthansa took delivery of the world’s first cargo dedicated Boeing 747, registration number D-ABYE. For several years it would be the only one of it’s kind. Taking into account historic Deutsche Mark conversions, the aircraft had cost about 53 million dollars at the time. Adjusted for inflation, it would be approximately 221 million dollars today.
One of the most unique features of the 747F (F for freight) is the ability for the nose cone beneath the cockpit to swing up to allow easy access to the cargo hold. This allowed for a wide variety of cargo to be transported by air that previously would not have been able to do so. To read more about the history of the 747, and the story behind the Bubble Top, you can read my post on the topic here.
This delivery coincided closely with the opening of Frankfurt’s Cargo Hall earlier in October of 1971 which at the time was the largest air cargo facility in the world and served as the air cargo hub for virtually everything flying into and out of Europe. To this day, Frankfurt is still regarded as one of the world’s largest air cargo handling facilities.
Early Images of the 747F:
Frankfurt’s Cargo Hall (Courtesy of Lufthansa):