Away we go

SHANGHAI - I’ve been doing just a bit of traveling, from Dubai to Rome to Beijing in the past week or so, and now I’m in Shanghai before heading home, where there’s been lots going on in my absence.

Yesterday we announced that we’re getting closer to the first flight of the next member of the 787 flight test fleet, ZA005. Its engines came to life for the first time during testing in Everett earlier this week.

This Dreamliner is the first to be powered with General Electric’s GEnx engines and is scheduled to fly later this quarter.


ZA005 is powered by a “really useful engine” - the GEnx - and will go through a series of ground tests to make sure it’s ready for its first flight.

Speaking of Dreamliners, we had yet another first this past weekend for the 787 program - all 4 test Dreamliners flying at the same time. On Saturday we had the 4 airplanes up in the air simulaneously, with a total of 72 crew members on board.

We also marked the start of assembly on the 747-8 Intercontinental - the new passenger version of the 747-8 - over the past week. This is obviously a huge milestone for the 747-8 Program.


Mechanics have loaded the 747-8 Intercontinental’s wing panels and spars (the internal support structures) - in the assembly tools.

Lufthansa is the launch customer for the 747-8, which is stretched 18.3 feet (5.6 m) from the 747-400 to provide 467 seats in a three-class configuration.

The Intercontinental is 16% more fuel efficient and has a 30% smaller noise footprint. It also has a pretty cool interior inspired by the 787 Dreamliner.

Comments (7)

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Impressive - the largest wing spar ever built for a Boeing aircraft.

Looking forward to those GE-powered 787 flight tests. And a big congratulations for the start of 747-8I fabrication. That in itself is a Jumbo-sized quash of long-standing rumours. Happy travels!

P.Sumantri (France):

When is the next 747-8 Intercontinental order? I think there is one coming soon.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The new GEnx engine looks huge and there is a noticeable difference from the Rolls Royce engines as the blades seem slightly less prominent but longer.

The new wing panels and spars in the new 747-8I look very long as the wing will be huge.

Ben (Livingston, TX, USA):

Curious. Is that big spar metal or composite? How about the same on the 787?

Blaine Harris (Seattle):

You are so bizarre sometimes (the inclusion of “really useful engine” video link) but that is why I like to read your posts. Informative and entertaining. You show that executives can be real people and can show a sense of humor to the world.

Steve (Omaha, NE):

Someone has kids.

Scott (San Francisco, CA):

Love the Thomas reference...and so did my son! He loves to watch "air-pane" videos, especially the "Tribble-Seven"

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