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.
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…
The left-hand side of the freshly-unveiled Seattle Seahawks Boeing 747-8F – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com
To those of us in the Seattle area, it comes as no surprise that everyone has been pretty excited that the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl.
The right side of the Boeing Seahawks aircraft – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Boeing, being one of the largest corporate sponsors of the Seahawks, has decided to join in. How they showed their support is exceptional.
It started with a surprise email from the Boeing media department this morning asking if we could attend an event at 2:00pm today. We could, and it ended with the reveal. We would have been on the ramp longer, but unfortunately, it was not only pouring rain but also deceptively cold.
The Seahawks aircraft grand reveal from Building 45-01 – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Since I haven’t much to say – other than that I am in awe of the amazing effort undertaken and speed with which Boeing was able to get this top secret project completed – allow me to share some Seahawks-related 747-8 facts straight from Boeing.
The loudest Seahawks game is 38 times louder than the 747-8 is on departure. I know it may not seem that way numerically, but sound pressure is a logarithmic measurement.
Nothing like having a special scheme elevator hanging over your head Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Also, I am told that a 747-8F can carry roughly 121 million individual Skittles candies (if that makes no sense, it’s explained here). This is a sight I would love to partake in at some point.
For reference, N770BA used to look like this:
N770BA prior to its new role – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
If you were wondering, this aircraft will be flying around the Seattle Area as a part of its test program. This aircraft, despite its stunning new livery, is still part of the Boeing test fleet. Of all the aircraft to paint, this one makes the most sense. No angry customers, and the opportunity to play with a blank canvas. It may just so happen that while the aircraft is painted like this, and prior to the Super Bowl- that this test routine will have some deviations from the norms. For example, do not be surprised if one of the tests Boeing performs over the next few days is “How does it look near the Space Needle?”.
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).