Boeing 747-8F during taxi tests at Paine Field.

Boeing 747-8F during taxi tests at Paine Field.

You know the folks over at Boeing have to hate the “d” word right about now. That word, of course being “delay.” The Boeing 787 and 747-8 programs have been taking turns announcing new delays. Since the 787 team announced the last delay, it was inevitably the 747-8’s turn.

Delays look bad and they cost money, but they occur for good reason. Even though the new Boeing 747-8 might look very similar to the Boeing 747-400, there are a lot of changes and of course Boeing wants to make sure the aircraft is fully prepared before first delivery.

The most recently 747-8 Freighter delivery is caused from low-frequency vibration in certain flight conditions and an aileron actuator not performing correctly. These won’t require any structural changes, but it will delay certification testing.

“We understand the issues encountered in flight test and are working through the solutions,” Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager, airplane programs, for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a news release. “We recognize our customers are eager to add the 747-8 Freighter to their fleets, and we understand and regret any impact this schedule change may have on their plans to begin service with the airplane.”

Although the Boeing 747-8 first delivery to Cargolux is being pushed to mid-2011, Boeing states this change should not have a material impact on their 2010 financial results. Boeing also plans to add a fifth Boeing 747-8 to their test fleet.

One a more fun note: On this day in 1968, the very first Boeing 747 was rolled out of the Boeing factory in Everett (photo).

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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2 Comments

While no one likes the delays, if they are the result of a rigorous flight test program (as opposed to bureaucratic bumbling) then they are a necessary evil. I’d rathr fly, or have my good fly, in an aircraft that was rigorously tested, than one that the testing is a rubber-stamp process.

Of course the haters won’t see it that way.

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