Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

The Jehoshua Novels


Boeing 747-8 first flight

My son and I watched the landing of the Boeing 747-8 this afternoon at Paine Field, Everett, WA. The 747-8 is the latest Boeing product in the long line of 747 airframes. The first flight today was the freighter version.

Notice the new Boeing House Colors – the curved cheat line down the fuselage. It was surprisingly quiet as well.

The 747-8 can be configured for passenger service with 467 seats in a three cabin configuration. The plane has a range of 14,815 km (Intercontinental) and 8,130 km (Freighter). The plane is more efficient than the prior 747-400 and the only plane in the 400-500 seat market that fits existing airport infrastructure – unlike the Airbus A380.

It’s an expensive gamble for Boeing – the 747-8 lists for $277 million – but it is thought the launch customers paid up the 30% less.

It’s nice to watch something we actually designed and created in this country.

25 comments to Boeing 747-8 first flight

  • Joaquin

    Just some trivia:
    The original 747 design was not done with CAD. The blueprints were drawn the old fashioned way. Software was used to scan and vectorize the drawings so that later versions like this could be developed and tested using modern software. The infrastructure needed to produce a plane like this is truly amazing. Its impossible for anyone person to understand all of the technology developed so these can fly. I had four different contracts with different companies that were related to this plane.

  • adrena

    That’s a sleek-looking machine.


    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • Dawn

    So true Joaquin! Have you ever toured the Boeing assembly plant in Everett? It was more fun before 9/11 – now you are relegated up one end of the building and have to look through open doors way down the building to see the 747s – and it is a massive building!

    We have a set of blue prints for the paint scheme for early British Airways 747 – 100/200 series airframe. They are massive – pages and pages of instruction. I’ve read that the paint can add up to 1,000 pounds to the weight of the plane. That’s a whole lot of paint.

  • Dawn

    This summer I saw several of the monstrously large A380s – no thanks. Trust me when I say you do not want to be stuck in customs when they disgorge. You really appreciate the subtly of the design of the 747 when you see it by comparison. Nothing else looks like a 747.

  • Joaquin

    I was even part of a group that worked on vectorizing the drawings. I worked on part of the system that delivers tools to the production and repair lines, wrote software used for networking computers used in manufacturing and other things.

  • Dawn

    for sharing your experiences. Do you still work in the field? Been some tough times for Boeing lately. Saw three 787 on the flight line yesterday (one in ANA livery). Frequently see that “Dreamlifter” fly over – that’s been a rough experiment in building airplanes.

  • Joaquin

    Been doing software for internet retailers for the last few years.

  • Synoia

    LAX to Sydney, Non stop was my longest flight.
    NYC to Joburg twice.

    My worst flight:

    747 Paris to Joburg. Full Plane. Pretty wooman sat next to me, was a French & Afrikaans speaking nun, no english. Plae to for ever to get off the ground in Paris. The feuling engineer for SAA was in the other abject seat, and was white knuckled before we rotated.

  • Jimbo92107

    Wired online mag is following the roll-out of the new 747 pretty closely:

    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/02/boeing-747-8-first-flight-2/

    Pretty good article. Turns out the quieter engines take advantage of a special trailing edge of the cowling that diffuses the roar. Such clever humans!
    .
    Cows get milked, rubes get bilked,
    And fat cats dine on fools and cream.

  • Dawn

    I’ve done that run too! That is a long flight. I did it pre-9/11 and the FAs let me visit the cockpit.

    Can’t match NYC to JHB – I’ve flown into JHB but from London. Glad you got there safe!

  • Dawn

    For the truly airplane nerdy (like my family) we were able to track the first flight in FlightAware software. The plane flew out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca, then down the spine of the Olympic Mountains, turned east around Olympia and eventually returned to Paine Field from the east.

  • BC Nurse Prof

    and had this to say when I asked her if she’d seen it:

    Yes, I was standing outside when it took off from the other side of the factory and over our building. I can’t believe how quiet it was. Something that huge, that close, you would expect to roar for 10 minutes until it’s out of sight, like the big military cargo planes do, but it was just a whoosh. Amazing.

    I also saw the 787 takeoff in person — right in front of me, as I stood outside the fence on the grass immediately next to the runway.

    It’s really cool to watch the big jets go into the sky with the little tag-a-long airplane wingtip-to-wingtip with it. They fly so close together it’s amazing they don’t touch.

    It will be a good thing for us if we can start delivering both planes soon.

  • Jeff Wegerson

    Within the last year or so they added a new runway at O’Hare. The new runway’s inbound flight path is very near our house. Even though we are 10 miles or so from the airport I now really notice the incoming planes. In reading the article I took especial notice about the noise reduction effort for the plane. From the above link:

    Noise reduction design on the GEnx engines

    The GEnx engines have a noise-reduction design.

    One of the first things people on the ground noticed about the plane — besides the massive size — is how quiet it is at takeoff. The four engines let out more of a whoosh than a roar, and even as the plane climbed into the sky it didn’t interrupt conversations held just a few hundred feet away. General Electric designed the engines, similar to those found on the 787, to dramatically reduce the noise at airports, adopting such tricks as giving the engine cowling a unique serrated pattern.

    The noise reduction is one reason Cargolux signed up for 13 747-8s. Spokesman Patrick Jeanne said the company runs a fleet of 747-400s out of Luxembourg and the new model has a “noise footprint” one-third smaller than the planes they’re using now. That’s a big deal.

    “It’s very important to make as little noise as possible.”

    Jeanne says the reduced noise is helpful in maintaining community relations,…

  • BC Nurse Prof

    immediately after 9/11 and the plane was almost empty. All of us passengers folded up the seat arms and took down all the blankets and pillows and each made a nest to sleep on. I slept well the whole flight. Then I transfered to a flight from Heathrow to Joburg (12 hours) and it was asshole to elbow the whole flight. Awful.

    The only good thing about that trip was that I bought some excellent Eastern European absinthe on the way back in the Heathrow airport.

  • adrena

    watching planes is fascinating.

    You’re lucky to live close to the Boeing assembly plant in Everett.

    I remember taking my two girls sometimes, when they were young, to spend an afternoon at the airport in Ottawa. At the end of a large hall were some comfortable couches in front of a wide, ceiling to floor window with a view of the runway. Not only was it exciting to watch planes take off and land, this entertainment also didn’t cost a penny.

    As well, their dad took the girls often to the Aviation Museum as it was close to where he lived. There my oldest daughter fell in love with the Lancaster, a heavily armed bomber that took part in many raids on Germany in World War two. She had some pictures of the Lancaster on her bedroom wall and wrote a cute story about this plane. Her fascination with the Lancaster (just the plane, not with the many deaths it caused) lasted many years but was finally replaced with a love of horses when I started taking her for horseback riding lessons.


    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • adrena

    I was fully stretched out on 4 middle seats on a flight from Amsterdam to Joburg. It waz ze bezt flight evah!


    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • Michael Collins

    It’s great that you got to see it. I saw the Concord a few times at Dulles but it didn’t have the same form follows function look. Maybe this can be the model for other products. There’s no reason why we can’t retool rapidly (other than inertia and narrow vision).

  • forty2

    Both are pretty ungainly just because they’re so damned big. I finally saw an A380 for reals at LAX last year, a Qantas beast that was just stunningly huge. But the A380 loses the beauty contest out of sheer bulk.

    Nice to see Boeing carrying on with this relatively ancient plane, though I’m sure the 747-800 bears little resemblance to the ca. 1969 747-100 aside from a silhouette.

    Oh and I hope they’re building it from more US-made sources than the 787.

  • Tonsure Wimple

    Sunnstein is the new Godwin

  • Tonsure Wimple

    Are the 747 first-class lounges still in the sky? They look so bitchin’ in the movies.

    Sunnstein is the new Godwin

  • adrena

    I just wanted to illustrate that for girls, if I may quote Ian Welsh, the horizon is as far as they can imagine. Fuck the marketers that peddle sexualized little girls. Rise up, I say, rise up. We don’t have to take this anymore.


    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • Joaquin

    Unfortunately, its all boys; where are the parents with little girls? We would take our girl there if we had one.

  • trob

    One is a former student in the Master’s program I worked in. The other is a second cousin I saw last night at her father’s memorial service. Both are single moms; the first raised four boys by herself.

    Girls can be engineers, and successful ones. These two amazing women are proof.

    Tom Robinson

  • trob

    Not sure what the total is now, but Boeing has been very serious about reducing engine noise, as have the engine makers.

    Tom Robinson

  • trob

    to help sell planes to the airlines based in those countries. It’s my opinion they got seriously carried away with this with the 787, and that multi-country coordination is what has delayed this plane. It’s certain key pieces that should never have left the US, like giving the avionics to the Italians, and the wing manufacturing to the Japanese. Those were both core competencies for Boeing and the US.

    Tom Robinson

Leave a Reply