The first Boeing 747-8I. But how long will the model last?
There are few who can make a case against the Boeing 747 as the most majestic and beautiful airliner in the sky. I love the 747 (any variant) for its unique shape and instant recognition; you just won’t find folks lining up to tell you about the classic lines of the A380. Originally released in 1970, the Queen of the Skies has defined the term “jumbo jet” for multiple generations. But, despite the 747′s 40+ years as a long-haul mainstay for airlines around the world, is the future of the 747 and its latest variant, the 747-8, in jeopardy?
The Fiero Problem
The issue doesn’t seem to be that the 747 has gotten stale in its old age (in fact, Boeing’s latest version features new engines, a redesigned wing, a fuselage stretch, and advanced avionics; some might argue that Boeing spent WAY too much capital on a plane with so few orders). Rather, the problem seems to be that other planes have gotten so much better. This reminds me of that 80′s darling, the Pontiac Fiero, and its cool uncle, the Chevrolet Corvette.
GM and Pontiac built the Fiero from 1984-1988. A mid-engined, two-seater sports car with sharp (for the 80′s) looks, the Fiero did a lot of things well that the Corvette also was known for. Although not officially acknowledged by GM as a reason for ending the program, enthusiasts maintain that GM killed the Fiero because it was encroaching on the performance envelope of the ‘Vette, at lower acquisition and operating costs. Sound familiar? If you’ve ever flown on a Boeing 777, it should.
Even when you get bored making your own liveries, be sure to check out the few hundred that have already been made. Some are actually really good and others are, well… have opportunity for improvement (any of the ones we tried surely have TONS of room for improvement, so we are not ones to judge).
Interestingly enough, if you look at the first design in the gallery, it is an Air China 747-8I. The airline has five on order, which none have been delivered quite yet. Maybe this provides a nice preview for the airline?
While catching a ride in a Boeing Stearman, Seattle Photographer and NYCAviation Chief Correspondent Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren got a nice shot of the first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental in full Lufthansa livery. Previously, we have seen another 747-8I in partial Lufthansa livery, missing her titles and logo. Interestingly, the registration number, D-ABYA, was used on Lufthansa’s very first Boeing 747-100 delivered on October 3, 1970. According to Lufthansa, the registration was created based on a specific pattern set for the airline. D represents Duetschland, A stands for an aircraft weighing over 20 tons, B is for Boeing, the Y stands for the aircraft type (V is the designation for the 747-400) and the final letter represents the actual aircraft and since this is the first to get a Lufthansa registry, it is A. According to the airline a name for the first 747-8 Intercontinental has not yet been decided.
Recently, the Boeing 747-8 Freighter won certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing is set to deliver the first 747-8F to Cargolux on September 19th and the second on the 21st. The 747-8I is still under going flight testing and the first is expected to be delivered to a private customer sometime later this year. Lufthansa is expected to take delivery of their first Intercontinental sometime in early 2012.
I am a fan of the simplistic Lufthansa livery, but if you are wondering what a retro scheme might look like on the 747-8 Intercontinental, someone has already done a mock up. I was able to find some additional photos of Lufthansa’s full-liveried 747-8I on Lufthansa’s website taken by Boeing. Click any for larger:
Lufthansa's Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental inside the Boeing Factory.
Lufthansa 747-8I paint hangar roll out
A full liveried 747-8I rolls out of the paint hangar overnight.
A Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I sits on the flight line at Paine Field.
This post was updated with additional photos and information.
What a nice site to see while driving on the highway. Boeing's first 747-8 Intercontinental
This Sunday Boeing will unveil their newest and largest plane; the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. I have been asked by quite a few fans if the public will be able to see the airplane. The bad news is no, the whole unveiling will be done inside, meaning you can’t catch a glimpse from the Future of Flight or their parking lot — bummer.
However, the good news is Boeing will be doing a live feed of the event at Boeing’s NewAirplane.com site. The live webcast will start at 11am PST on Sunday the 13th. Boeing will be giving information to the media starting Saturday morning, so you will be able to catch a lot more via Twitter. You can follow me (@AirlineReporter), @FlightBlogger and/or the hashtag #7478FT.
I have been trying to find out what livery the 747-8I will have, but Boeing isn’t talking. Guess we will all have to find out on Sunday. I am hoping it is the full Boeing livery, but I think even the light livery should look slick. Who knows, maybe they will go a little crazy and it will be in Lufthansa livery. Either way, I can’t wait.
I can’t dance. But the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental sure can. this video shows three major parts of the new 747-8I fuselage pieces being put together to form what looks like a real (cool) plane.Take a look at the video and check out their website for more information.