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).
Late last night I got word from Jon Ostrower (aka FlightBlogger) that a nicely new painted Boeing 747-8 in British Airways colors was out in the open. So, this morning I headed over to Paine Field (KPAE) to check it out. I found her, but it wasn’t so easy. First she was parked a bit off from the rest of the Boeing 747-8’s and she is not in full British Airways livery. She is painted all white with a blue belly.
I was also able to check out the other Boeing 747-8’s sitting, waiting to take to the sky.
Update: BA has announced it is updating its fleet of Boeing 747-400F with new Boeing 747-8F’s and will be leasing them through Global Supply Systems, which is 49% owned by Atlas Air. On the press release BA states, “It has also been agreed that the new 747-8fs will be delivered in British Airways livery and incorporate the British Airways World Cargo logo.” Flight Global reports that they will be wet-leased for five years by GSS.