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.
Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777-200LR (ET-ANP) at Paine Field. Click for more photos.
Ah, the life of waiting for a first flight in Seattle: cold, rain, wind, but no Boeing 787 Dreamliner. ZA102, the ninth Dreamliner, was set to take off for the first time today, but it has been pushed until at least tomorrow, Tuesday. The engines started up for a while, but then shut down and the left cowl was opened up. This didn’t mean Paine Field was short of any action this morning. There were two Boeing 777’s that took off, one Boeing 747-8 (BOE503) and a few Ryanair Boeing 737’s that did touch and goes.
You remember being a kid and splashing in the puddles? Well, I guess I sometimes get in the mood to do it as an adult to. Take the excitement of jumping in puddles, add a Boeing 747-8 and you have total awesomeness.
One of the tests the Boeing 747-8 must go through is a water spray test before getting certification. Boeing created a large puddle and ran the 747-8 through it at 30, 40, then finally at 50kts to see how the water would react to the body.
The test was conducted in Glasgow, Montana and Bernard Choi with Boeing Communications told me, “The airplane and engines performed as designed.”
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).