Monday, June 14, 2010

Big Day for the 747 Program

Lots of happenings at Boeing for the 747 program. A lot of positive news about this program coming out from Boeing and other places. In short they are:
  1. The 747-8F has received it TIA (Type Inspection Authorization) so now FAA engineers and inspectors will ride along to certify the 747-8F.
  2. Boeing started fuselage assembly of the first 747-8I.
  3. A 747-8F for Korean Air Cargo made its appearance on the Everett ramp today in full Korean Air livery joining the 747-8F for Cargolux.
Boeing Photo

The start of fuselage assembly represents a major milestone in the 747-8I program. Boeing has already been working on the wings but as you can see from the Boeing photo, the iconic shape of the 747 is starting to become reality for the newest version of the aircraft. It will be amazing to see the full aircraft, with it stretched upper deck, completed sometime this fall and prepared for its first flight scheduled to take place late this year or early next year. Here's Boeing's press release:

Boeing Begins Fuselage Assembly for First 747-8 Intercontinental

EVERETT, Wash., June 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) began fuselage assembly of the first 747-8 Intercontinental at the factory in Everett, Wash. Mechanics loaded panels for the 31-foot, 8-inch (9.6 m) long front section of the new airplane into the assembly tool. The panels are part of section 41, the area of the fuselage that houses the flight deck on the upper deck and the forward passenger cabin on the main deck, an area that most airlines typically configure with first class seating.

The 747-8 Intercontinental is the new, high-capacity 747 that offers airlines the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. Boeing has 109 orders for the 747-8 -- 33 for the 747-8 Intercontinental and 76 for the 747-8 Freighter. The first 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled to deliver in late 2011.

Randy Tinseth put up a few more great pictures of the assembly of the first section 41 for the 747-8I on his blog. First Look - 747-8 Intercontinental.

Later in the day Boeing announced that the 747-8F achieved a major milestone in receiving the Type Inspection Authorization from the FAA. This now means that Boeing will conduct certification flight tests with the FAA on board as the organizations deems the aircraft safe enough to allow its personnel on board for test flights. The 747-8F program has gotten off to a rocky starts but now seems to be gathering momentum. It still remains to be seen if Boeing can deliver the aircraft to Cargolux on time by the end of this year. Here's Boeing's press release:
Boeing 747-8 Freighter Receives Expanded Type Inspection Authorization

EVERETT, Wash., June 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) received expanded type inspection authorization (TIA) from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the 747-8 Freighter on June 11. This authorization clears the way for FAA personnel to participate in test flights and collect required data.

"This is a major step in our effort to test and certify the 747-8 Freighter for our customers," said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager for the 747 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The airplane is performing well in the tests. We have demonstrated the airplane's readiness to move onto the next stage in the flight-test program through tests at a variety of speeds, altitudes and configurations."

With the issuance of TIA, the 747 program is beginning expanded certification testing. During this phase of testing, the extremes of the flight envelope are explored. Testing conditions include operations in hot and cold weather as well as takeoffs and landings at high-altitude airports. In addition, over-speed conditions, hard landings and engine-out conditions are tested.

"The airplane is handling beautifully," said Mark Feuerstein, 747 program chief pilot, Boeing Test and Evaluation. "It is a joy to fly."

The entire flight-test program calls for a total of about 3,700 hours of ground and air testing. The first 747-8 Freighter delivery is planned for the fourth quarter of this year.

Photo courtesy of David Parker Brown

Lastly, Dave Parker Brown of, got some terrific pictures of the third 747-8F to come out of the final assembly hall at Everett. The aircraft is destined for Korean Air Cargo when the certification program is complete. You can see the other pictures by Dave by clicking here.

Flightblogger has a couple of posts about todays 747 events:

Flightblogger: FAA grants expanded type inspection authorisation to 747-8F

Flightblogger: Korean Air Cargo first 747-8F revealed as program earns TIA

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