How do you fit a jumbo jet the size of the 747-8 into a hangar?

Answer: Very carefully.


A tight squeeze for a 747-8 in a hangar at Boeing Field.

The other day we moved a 747-8 Freighter (our #2 flight test airplane) into the 3-390 hangar at Boeing Field. Incidentally this is the same building where I had my desk when I first started with Boeing.

It’s the massive hangar originally built for the B-52 program. Some of us who’ve been with the company a long while still call it the “B-52 hangar.”

The airplane is in the hangar so we can conduct some critical ground tests out of the wind and other weather elements. This is a big part of the flight test program, by the way. About 2,600 hours of the program consist of ground tests.

When we looked at it initially, it seemed the airplane was not going to fit in the hangar. But in the spirit of “find a way,” the team worked it out.


As you can see, the airplane just fit. In the end we had to remove the wing tips to get the airplane inside. We also removed the vertical fin tip. The vertical fin would have fit, but just to ensure a safe margin we removed it as well.

The result was a move which saves us an engine cycle because we didn’t have to make an unnecessary flight to an alternate location for this testing.

Comments (11)

Steve (Kent, WA):

Randy - My wife and I were working in the yard Sunday when one of the 747-8 test planes flew directly overhead - I made us feel darn proud! Thanks for the news updates! (and the occasional music links too!!) Steve

Thomas Horstmann (Portland, OR):

Randy, those shots of the 747-8 are incredible! I will never complain about tight parking spaces again. :)


Thomas V. Horstmann, Jr.
Portland, OR

Rick Brock (Portland, OR):

Impressive picture - although most things regarding the 747 are pretty impressive. Picture reminds me of when the first 747 Mockup was built inside of the Renton shop in '65/. That was an even tighter squeeze.

Daniel Ding (Toronto, Ontario):

Wow. The sheer size of the 747-8 still astounds me every time I see it!

Don Harrington (Bellevue, WA):

Yep, that's a pretty tight fit, all right! Way to go, team!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The tail on the 747-8 is almost hitting the trusses on the ceiling, I cannot imagine any bigger airplane or bigger version eg. the 747-600X or NLA that can fit in the hanger.

Jason Clower (Everett, Wa, USA):

What are the measurements of the doors v.s. the wings? Was this the only idea? Or were there other thoughts and considerations? I wish you could have taken more pictures that actually show how tight of a fit it was. Like when it was going into the building. I guess I don't really see it.

Bill Shillington (St. Louis, Missouri):

The 747 has always impressed me. When it's in a picture that offers scale, it is even more impressive. Much like an NFL football player when they are standing next to a coach or an official, one realizes just how big those guys are.
Best Regards.

GaryOttman (Everett):

I was an "Incredible" back in the day of 1967. I was working in tooling then when the first 747-100 was in the assembly phase. I also have worked from a desk in the B-52 (3-390)building. I know how cold and or hot and drafty it can be in the building/ hangar. Thanks for the update.

Don Bennett (Houston, Texas USA):

I actually saw a B-52 roll out of that hangar back in June 1961 during my orientation for working at Boeing. Later they had an inert Minuteman mockup in the hangar I think. A welder started a fire in it and everyone vacated the building. The conference room we were in did not get the evacuate word and when we came out, security was upset for some 50 people were in that room for a Dyna Soar meeting. The lead for our group borrowed a wood cutting tool from a carpenter and went over and carved out the slow burning section and all the fun was over. That gives me a feel for the size of the 747-8. Thanks. Keep up the updates on the flight test program.

Anna M Young Kivett (Columbia, SC):

My Father (Roy O. Young) would have loved this. He was part of the Team that built the firt 747. We went on one of the first Tours after it was built. It was awsome so huge, I was around 7 at the time.

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