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Boeing Celebrates the 1,500th 747 – Is the Jumbo Jet Still Viable?

The 1500th Boeing 747 sitting on the flight line at Paine Field

The 1,500th Boeing 747 (70th 747-8) sitting on the flight line at Paine Field

The 747 Jumbo Jet is an iconic aircraft. For years, it was the only double-deck commercial airliner and for many it is a favorite. From its first flight in 1969, the 747 has changed quite a bit. The newest iteration, the 747-8, might sport a similar shape to the original 747 or the 747-400, but it is quite a different beast (more than just LED lighting). This past weekend, the 1,500th 747 was delivered to Lufthansa Airlines. About a week earlier, Boeing took the opportunity to talk about their largest commercial airliner and its future relevance.

LN1500 lining up for take off. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

LN1500 lining up for take off – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

I was invited to Boeing’s factory in Everett to sit down with Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of the 747 program, and we had a down-to-earth conversation about where the 747 has been, where it is today, and where Boeing is hoping it is going.

The big message that Lindblad wanted to get across is, “this is not your mother’s 747.” Not only is the 747-8I a very different aircraft than the 747-400, but the 70th 747-8 is much more efficient than the first one, and they plan to keep making it more efficient.

Continue reading Boeing Celebrates the 1,500th 747 – Is the Jumbo Jet Still Viable?

Inside the Factory: Photo Tour of Where Boeing 747s are Born

The money shot: 747 line inside the Boeing factory

The money shot: 747 line inside the Boeing factory

Back in the 1960s Boeing made a big gamble. They decided to build the world’s largest airliner, the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. To build such a beast, they would need a large facility. After careful consideration, Boeing decided to build a large factory in Everett.

Since the first 747 rolled off the line in 1968, every other 747 has been built under the same roof. Even today, the 747-8 is built in the same factory.

In case you didn't know the aircraft type, there is a large sign on the wall.

In case you didn’t know the aircraft type, there is a large sign on the wall.

Although Boeing offers public tours of the facility, they do not allow cameras. I was lucky enough to participate in a media event and take photos of the 747 line in the factory and I wanted to be able to share. Enjoy…

Continue reading Inside the Factory: Photo Tour of Where Boeing 747s are Born

OFFICIAL: The First Boeing 747-8F Will Deliver Today Without Celebration

Cargolux Boeing 747-8F. It appears the first delivery will happen today.

Cargolux Boeing 747-8F. It appears the first delivery will happen today.

From multiple sources, it looks like the first Boeing 747-8F is finally set to be delivered to Cargolux sometime today after a lot of complications. As of now the aircraft shows to be leaving Paine Field at 11am and heading to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on Flight Aware.

Boeing is not confirming the delivery and told me that it would be announced when the delivery takes place (which could be before or after).

Jon Ostrower is also hearing that the first 747-8F will deliver to Cargolux today. It appears that instead of the three-day celebration of the delivery, the delivery will be done quietly. Let’s hope there will be a celebration of Cargolux’s second delivery.

Update:
Boeing has confirmed that Cargolux will receive their first Boeing 747-8F today at Paine Field. The plane will depart from Paine Field at about 11am and is scheduled to have a short, six minute flight to SEA, to presumably load up with Cargo before heading home to Luxembourg.

The second 747-8F is scheduled to be delivered to Cargolux tomorrow, October 13th.

WATCH THE CARGOLUX 747-8F TAKE OFF VIA PAINE FIELD’S WEBCAM (thanks Mark)

Image: flypdx

Boeing Expects 747-8 Freighter Delivery in Early September (plus rad photo)

747-8F Flying Over 2011 Seafair Race. Photo by Boeing. Click for larger.

747-8F Flying Over 2011 Seafair Race. Photo by Boeing/Leo Dejillas. Click for larger.

Today, Boeing announced that the new 747-8 Freighter has received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This means the new jumbo-jet is in the final stages before being delivered to Cargolux. Boeing is expecting the first 747-8F to be delivered to Cargolux in, “early September.”

“This is such a great day for everyone on the 747 team,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes stated in a Boeing press release. “Over the last several years, this team has overcome challenge after challenge. Through their hard work and dedication, they have ensured that the 747, the Queen of the Skies, will fly for decades to come.” Boeing is expecting the passenger version, the 747-8 Intercontinental, will be delivered to Lufthansa Airlines sometime during the fourth quarter. Check out this Boeing video on the 747-8F testing process.

So, the big question is, which airliner will be delivered first? The Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the 747-8F. Either way, it is looking like September will be one awesome month for airline geeks around the world (and for Cargolux and All Nippon Airways).

About the photo: During Seattle’s Seafair, Boeing flew one of their 747-8F over Lake Washington. Although there was no Tex Johnston-like roll, I hear it was still a great site to see. This photo was taken by Leo Dejillas (and found on Randy Tinseth’s blog). I am assuming the photo was taken from one of Boeing’s T-38 chase planes. I think it does a nice job representing how great Seattle is, for how many other cities get a low fly over of a brand new aircraft on a sunny Sunday? (thanks Liz for helping me get my facts on the Seafair flyover straight — she was there and I wasn’t)

Video: Boeing 747-8 Freighter Completes Ultimate Rejected Take Off

The new Boeing 747-8F is one majestic aircraft. Along with all the majesticness (yes I just made that a word) comes a lot of weight. The 747-8F can take off weighing nearly one million pounds and for the flight tests, Boeing needs to make sure the aircraft can successfully complete an aborted take off, fully loaded.

The Ultimate Rejected Takeoff (yes that is official terminology) is not made easy. First they loaded up the aircraft to about 975,000 pounds. Then they made sure the brakes were as worn as possible — not something that would happen during normal maintenance.

Once the aircraft got above 200mph, the Boeing test pilot, Captain Kirk Vining, slammed on the brakes. During a normal aborted take off, the pilot would also use thrust reversers, but not for this test. All that energy (and it is a lot) went directly to the brakes.

The 747-8F was able to stop about 700 feet sooner than Boeing was expecting. However, stopping is just half the battle. As you can see in the video, once the aircraft is stopped, the brakes were glowing red. Even though a fire crew was on the scene, they let the brakes sit for five minutes to see how the 747-8F would react.

This video shows a worst case scenario. Even if you have experienced a rejected take off as a passenger, it most likely wasn’t this violent. This just goes to show that aircraft can handle a lot and are extremely safe.

For more information and a second video, check out Boeing’s website.