Boeing 747 nose

Boeing 747 head

Which looks like a goose head

Goose head

which, for me, much uglier than 737

enter image description here

which has a head similar toenter image description here

which is of course, much better looking from my point of view. Why are there different designs of the nose for planes by the same manufacturers? What effects do the different designs have?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you mean the nose design? "Head" isn't a common term for a part of the plane. $\endgroup$
    – cpast
    Aug 3, 2015 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ Your pictures don't really show nose design, but rather fuselage cross-section. That is almost always circular as that provides highest structural strength, 747 being exception moving the cockpit up to allow full-height cargo door for the main deck. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Aug 3, 2015 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ Which is of course, much better looking is quite subjective. I'll bet that gooses' head is pretty darn sexy looking to other geese. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Aug 3, 2015 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ You mean in terms of fuel efficiency or looks/likes? $\endgroup$
    – user7241
    Aug 3, 2015 at 20:44
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    $\begingroup$ I thought the question meant "effect on the pilot's field of vision" - since, when landing, a 747's cabin is quite some distance above the ground when the main gear contacts. Agree we need more precision in the question. $\endgroup$
    Aug 3, 2015 at 21:36

2 Answers 2


Good question! The raised cockpit and the hump behind it make the 747 look like the goose. Raising the cockpit allows the hinged nose to come up to load freight. The raised area behind the cockpit was initially a lounge, and was then used for seating or cargo.

How the 747 Got Its Hump, Smithsonian Air and Space

Boeing 747-8F:

Photo by Olivier Cleynen

  • $\begingroup$ And how does it answer the effects of the noise on plane design in general? $\endgroup$
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 4, 2015 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ Not a huge effect. The raised cockpit isn't very important. The additional cross-sectional area is partially offset by the lift generated by the curved top of the fuselage. $\endgroup$
    – xpda
    Aug 5, 2015 at 3:22

The nose design can have an effect on the aircraft but that depends on the type of aircraft.

For small single engine GA aircraft the nose area behind the propellor is critical. Generally known as the cowling over the years it has has many different designs. The varying designs have had drastic effects on engine cooling and drag depending on the plane. Early Mooney's suffered from a less than idea cowling and mods gained them a lot of speed.

For jets like the ones you have pictured there are few things to consider in nose cone design. First off (although this has no aerodynamic effect). There is equipment housed behind the nose cone. Often radar and other things so the nose generally needs to able to accommodate that. Drag is a consideration when designing the nose as well, here is a nice chart regarding the drag on various designs.

enter image description here

There is a pretty lengthy paper on missile design that covers nose cones a bit as well.

For supersonic planes there are other considerations as well such as the shock wave produced and other things that are out of my body of knowledge but Im sure someone here can weigh in. One very interesting nose is that of the Concorde. On one hand it had its awesome moveable system which allowed for greater visibility on takeoff and landing and a more streamline (and heat treated glass) for super sonic flight. But perhaps more interestingly the plane had a serious nose heat issue. They solved this by pumping fuel through the nose as a form of coolant.


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