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An Inside Look at the Boeing 747 Stretched Upper Deck (SUD)

Do you own an older Boeing 747 and are looking to improve the way it looks? Does your upper deck just look so small compared to the 747-300, 747-400 and especially the 747-8I? Well, do not worry… Boeing has a deal for you: the 747 Stretched Upper Deck (SUD). Well, I guess Boeing had a deal for you, since they aren’t in the business of doing this anymore.

The SUD gave airlines operating older -100 and -200 747 models, the ability to stretch the upper deck and increase the number of passengers flown. When plane spotting, it is typically easy to tell the difference from a 747-100/200 and the 747-300 by check out the stretched upper deck, but the SUD makes it a bit more complicated.

Information for airlines on the Boeing 747 Stretched Upper Deck. Image from Boeing.

CLICK FOR LARGER: Information for airlines on the Boeing 747 Stretched Upper Deck. Image from Boeing.

From the image above: “The design of the Stretched Upper Deck option allows a 10 percent increase in capacity with only a 2 percent change in operating empty weight. This means added profit potential, lower seat-mile costs and 5 percent lower fuel consumption per available seat-mile.”

“This new option, available for the -100B/SR/-200B and -200B Combi models adds 280 inches of structure to the upper deck cabin.”

“The change is accomplished using current engine options and brake release gross weights of -100B/-200B models. Five maximum brake release gross weights are available ranging from the basic weight of 775,000 pounds (351 520 kg) to 833,000 pounds (377 780 kg). In addition to the basic JT9D-7AW, the -200B Stretched Upper Deck option is available with the following optional engines: Pratt & Whitney JT9D-JFW, -7J, -7Q and -7R4G2, General Electric CF6-50E/E1/E2 and Rolls-Royce RB211-524B2/C2/D4.”

“Weights and selected performance are presented on the following pages for only the 747-200B Stretched Upper Deck. 747-100B/SR and Combi performance is not shown.”

KLM Boeing 747-200 (PH-BUM) tkaen in May 1980 before the SUD upgrade. Photo by Udo Haafke.

KLM Boeing 747-200 (PH-BUM) tkaen in May 1980 before the SUD upgrade. Photo by Udo Haafke.

The same KLM Boeing 747-200 now with a Stretched Upper Deck. Taken in August 2003.

The same KLM Boeing 747-200 (PH-BUM) now with a Stretched Upper Deck. It looks like a Boeing 747-300, but really is still a -200. Taken in August 2003. Photo by Savvas Garozis.

 Images by Udo K Haafke and Savvas Garozis

16 comments to An Inside Look at the Boeing 747 Stretched Upper Deck (SUD)

  • TerminalWander

    Any Idea how many were done?

    • Gordon Werner

      JAL had two 747SRs converted (msns 23390/23637)
      KLM had three 747-200s converted (msns 21848, 22376, 22379)
      KLM had five 747-200s (w/Side Cargo Doors) converted (msns 21550, 21549, 21660, 22380, 21659)
      Air France had two 747-200s (w/Side Cargo Doors) converted (msns 22515, 22514)

      I think those are the only ones …

  • Cook

    Hmm. I had no clue that some 742 airframes were still in scheduled PAX service with ‘major’ carriers – like KLM. They must be a huge load operationally and for maintenance. And, if I’m not mistaken, the 742s still require a 3-person flightdeck crew, that poor old engineer sitting at a right ange to the rest of the family. As the previous commenter asked, do you have any idea about how many of these conversions were done – and how many remain in service? As an aside, my first 747 experience was a 741, Paris to Chicago and back, winter of 1972 – I think. Both directions made their major pit stop (fuel, cleaning, catering, crew change etc.) in Montreal (might have been Toronto, but I don’t think so) before continuing on. On those birds, the small, unmodified upper deck was a First Class lounge with a small bar; no regular seating. Through some special arrangements (decades before 9-11 and that I won’t talk about) I was able to spend most of both flights in a cockpit jump seat. It was a lot of fun! I also recall that, short of take-offs and landings, the Engineer (SO) did most of the in-flight work. Again, I’m very surprised to learn that the 742 is still in active PAX service with major carriers. -C.

  • jmx53

    Did any other airlines besides KLM convert any 742s to the SUD design?

    I read somewhere that the aerodynamics of a SUD give a slight increase in airspeed over the standard upper deck. Anyone know if this is true?

    743s also had a flight engineer, It wasn’t until the 744 that it went to a 2 person flight crew, true?

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  • Philip

    I do not believe KL operates the -200sud any longer. (That photo was taken in 2003). Of the 747’s, I think KL only operates the -400, -400K, -400ERF.

    Cheers,

  • Peter

    I believe there is a US carrier called Baltia starting up right now with -200s to Russian, Latvia, Ukraine, and Belarus. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes if/when they get FAA certified for scheduled passenger service.

  • Very cool mod! I wonder why Boeing didn’t try that way back in the early 70’s?

  • Man oh man, I remember flying those old KLM 747s JFK-AMS and AMS-NBO a few times in the 1980s and even into the early 1990s.

  • Didn’t SQ have the first DID aircraft back in the 80s? I seem to remember flying on one in 1985 or thereabouts.

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