Forward motion

The 747-8 team has finished assembly on the forward fuselage for the first -8 Freighter.

In the photos we just got from the factory this week, you can see the iconic upper deck as it flies through the 40-22 bay - 747 final assembly - in the enormous Everett facility.


A flying freighter sails above the 747 factory floor. In the bottom photo, the 747-8 forward fuselage passes the 787 fatigue test airplane on the left, and 787 Airplane #3 on the right. Some of the 747 factory “real estate” is in use at the moment for Dreamliner production work.

It’s a aerial journey from the installation tool in final assembly to an area for sealing and testing - what I’d definitely call “forward motion” on the way to rollout and first flight of this great new airplane.


UPDATE - 5.20.09

After seeing the great new images of the 747-8 forward fuselage, our intrepid Boeing historian Mike Lombardi remembered a similar event held in Everett some 40 years or so ago.


747 factory, Everett - 1968.

Amazing how the more things change the more things remain the same, as a generation of new-technology 747-8s start to “fly” through the factory.

Comments (9)

Chris C (South Africa):

Indeed, the 747-8 is a great new airplane, and is the pinnacle of airborne excellence in the very large airplane market, period! The 747-8F is the freighter of the future, and it's an absolute pleasure to see such phenomenal progress being made on production of the new, 21st-century 747-8 freighter! Thanks for sharing these stellar photos, the 747-8 is going to be one sexy looking, sleek and ultra-efficient/highly capable, market preferred airplane, period!

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Oohlala! Beautiful!

I suppose if you work at Everett, this kind of sight might be a regular occurrence - still, I don't think there'd ever be a time when you look at it and it doesn't make you a proud papa!

Thanks Randy - kudos for bringing to light this first flight!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The 747-8 looks good, I can see how it is stretched from the 747-400.

P.Sumantri (France):

The progress is now palpable on the 747-8 and the 787.
It seems the production troubles experienced in the past two years now belongs to history.
Frankly, I must say that you are lucky. Your aircraft programs have been delayed when air travel slows down. If your luck continues, you will be delivering those aircraft when world economy recovers.

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Siegfried Hess (Plant II):

Your articles are always insightful and show this company's greatest achievements. Too many times people let their fears drive their reality. Too many naysayers make the headlines. Our company takes intitiative, hard work, relentless striving toward goals and makes no excuses.

The result is the new 787 Dreamliner, the new 747-8 freighter and a multitude of defense products. I look forward to the bright future at Boeing and am proud of the small part I have contributed to this great company.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

That 40 year old picture shows the stretch clearly. Thanks, kudos for that one. Incredible though it is that 40 years later, you have the same winning shape, that is somewhat lighter and somewhat more advanced. Only the Boeing 747 and 737 have seen 40 years and emerged stronger and more mature products. That is credit to its designers and builders. Pretty cool..

Adolfo Pedregosa (Tung Chung, Hong Kong):

Nice Pics. I can't help to imagine that when the first B747 was assembled I was only a small boy. And now, another B747 model is being assembled.

I believe the B747 series will last into 2050. I will be old by then.

Steve (Siggenthal Station, Switzerland):

Great photos, both old and new, although I am curious as to why the 1968 shot is not also in color? I was rather young at the time, but I seem to recall color photos from that era. Now we need Mike to dig up a like photo from the 747-400 intro and we'll have the 20 year increments!

(I was lucky enough to witness the 1st flight of the 747-400)

It is great to be old enough to have been around for events like the birth of the 747, the Concorde, flights of the B-70 (greatest plane ever in my opinion), SR-71, C-5, B-1, B-2, F-14, F-15, F-18, F-117, F-22, C-17, 777, V-22, the Nimtz & Ford Class Carriers, the Apollo program, man walking on the moon, the development, and likely the entire lifecycle of the Space Shuttle, and if I'm lucky maybe to see man walk on the moon again! Also,the Hubble, the ISS, and the Mars rovers!

What a great timeframe to live in for those of us who are aviation/space buffs. The 787 and the 747-8 are just more icing on the cake! And as a frequent international traveler, I am so "dreaming" about the higher humidity levels and lower cabin altitude of the 787!
Keep up the great work...and entertainment! And as a suggestion, I think it would be very interesting to see a "detailed engineering comparison of the earliest and latest 747's, maybe a good subject for your Aero journel.

Chaz (Charlotte, NC):

Any chance we can see photos of that last 744 rolling off the line?

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