a very large passenger aircraft, also called informally the 'jumbo jet'. It was first made by the US Boeing Company in 1969. Each plane can carry more than 400 passengers. The 747–400 model is the longest, at more than 231 feet/70 metres. The safety of 747s was investigated after one exploded and crashed in 1996 off Long Island, New York, killing all 230 passengers and crew.