Night moves

The first 747-8 Freighter has emerged from the factory.

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A “night move” to the flight line.

I’m headed to the Dubai Air Show, but I just had to share the incredible photos from Thursday evening - an exciting time for me and many of us here at Boeing.

As you can see, several lucky employees got to watch the spectacle as the airplane was tugged out of the factory doors. I’m sure there was a feeling of pride for them as there is for me as we now get the latest version of the world’s most recognizable (not to mention most efficient) airplane ready for paint and flight test.

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This first 747-8 will be delivered to launch customer Cargolux.

Clearly, assembly of the 747-8 Freighter has had its challenges. Not only is it significantly larger than the 747-400, it incorporates a new wing design, new engines and new avionics. In fact, approximately 70% of the total weight of the airplane is new materials and components, so it’s been a steep learning curve.

As Paul Nuyen, 747 program vice president of Manufacturing, noted after Thursday night’s move, getting to this milestone is a credit to the team’s focus on completing a sizeable work statement while managing the discoveries that happen with any new airplane.

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At 250 feet long, with a wingspan of nearly 225 feet, the 747-8 Freighter is the largest commercial airplane we’ve ever assembled.

The 747-8 Freighter will give cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any freighter, while providing enhanced environmental performance. With an 18 feet, 4 inches (5.6 m) stretch compared to the 747-400 Freighter it will give customers 16% more revenue cargo volume - four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be watching with great interest (as I’m sure you’ll be too) as work continues on the first 747-8 in preparation for first flight by early 2010. I can’t wait!

For now, it’s on to Dubai.

Comments (8)

Thiagarajan (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia):

It look magnificent! Hats off to all parties involved.

Ankih Fre (Seattle,WA):

Yah! When will it go to the flight line?

Johan Björklund (Stockholm, Sweden):

Nice!

This plane will probably dominate the VLA freighter market for quite some time. I look forward to see her in Cargolux colors soon (or will it be the Boeing house livery first?)

Chris C (South Africa):

Congratulations and well done on the successful “factory completion” of the first phenomenal 747-8F! This is a truly beautiful, sleek and powerful looking airplane.

It’s virtually four years to the day that the 747-8 family was officially launched. These are truly exciting, and special, times indeed for the 747 program! The 747-8F is the pinnacle of air-freight excellence, and the freighter of the future, period!

Well Done Boeing!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Well done on the 747-8, it looks spectacular, imagine how it will look when it is painted and how spectacular it will be when it flies.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Congratulations - it's a beautiful accomplishment. Look forward to seeing this one in Boeing corporate attire soon. Well done again.

T Hanes (Everett Washington):

Being onsite to see this big bird roll out was facinating. You can feel the pride and accomplishment from every person around you, so many hours of hard work, and then the baby flies away - it is a unique feeling every time. I'm so glad to be here! Even after 13 years, it is still exciting.

A. Azam (Malaysia):

I'm working to develop this plane too, in Malaysia. [aileron skin + spoilers].

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