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First deliveries this year

For 37 years, Boeing's 747 "Jumbo Jet" was the largest commercial passenger aircraft in the world. The iconic aircraft was the bread and butter for the company, but sales have dropped as airlines have looked to the much more advanced and fuel efficient Airbus A380.

The Airbus A380 has not been without its problems though, some of which forced a delay in the development of the much awaited A380 freighter variant. Half of the world's air freight is carried on freighter versions of the 747, so Boeing saw a huge market opportunity.

The design of the previous generation, the 747-400, goes back to 1985. The new 747-800 series is much more advanced, and uses four of General Electric's GEnx-2B engines using technology developed for the 787 Dreamliner. The new aircraft will be larger and quieter, as well as more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Lower operating costs are the main reason why many current 747 operators are looking to purchase new planes. There are currently 76 orders for the 747-8F freighter model and 32 orders for the 747-8I Intercontinental passenger model.

Boeing completed the first test flight of a 747-8F yesterday from Paine Field in Everett, Washington. There are more than 1,600 flight hours in the test program scheduled.

"It was a real privilege to be at the controls of this great airplane on its first flight, representing the thousands of folks who made today possible," said 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein. "The airplane performed as expected and handled just like a 747-400."

A 747-8I could fly in the future as Air Force One, especially since Airbus has decided not to put in a bid. The current fleet uses two highly modified 747-200B aircraft delivered in 1990. They are scheduled to be replaced by 2017.

First deliveries of the 747-800 series are expected to begin by the end of this year.



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RE: Huge Move
By porkpie on 2/9/2010 11:20:29 PM , Rating: 1
The only problem with the Antonov is its rather lousy safety record. It's logged only about 1/6 the total airtime-hours as the Galaxy, yet has nearly as many major accidents.

Whether thats a design issue, an operator training/maintenance issue, or both, I won't try to argue.


RE: Huge Move
By Samus on 2/11/2010 12:45:48 AM , Rating: 2
Using interchangable parts isn't always a good idea. Think Toyota and accelerator pedals.

I know we're talking about Boeing here, and Aviation reliability is an entirely different field, HOWEVER, these GE engines are very new technology and other than the Dreamliner, they have no amassed flight hours outside of this problem.

Perhaps Boeing is spanning the engine through a number a problems to increase testing? Or they are lining themselves up for a quality control nightmare.


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