The Chart:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2 Deliveries and Post 2000 Record (Apparently) Tied. Also, a Lufthansa NTU.

So today there was another secret delivery. Line 1468 (RC008) VQ-BSK for a former Qatari Emir flew off to Vancouver, and then to an undisclosed location for VIP treatment. This was the 30th delivery of the year.

This article mentions a Boeing spokesperson saying that they've delivered 31 for the year. 12 8Is and 19 8Fs. So this means either 1420, 1422, or 1463 have contractually delivered and are waiting to fly away, because I'm only showing 18 delivered 8Fs on my chart. It's probably 1422 for Nippon Cargo.

A tie is great, pop the champagne!... but I'm still hopeful they deliver one more before the end of the year. I'm really jealous of all the 787s and 777s flying off.

As it turns out, the speculation about line 1435 in my previous post was correct. The frame will be used to certify the improvements being made to the 747-8. But sadly, Lufthansa has cancelled an order, specifically the one for this frame, lowering their total order to 19 with 15 left to deliver. After all the testing, they think poor line 1435 will be too 'odd' to include in their fleet. I'm sure she'll will find a new home, possibly as a BBJ, but it might take a while. The good news is that Lufthansa is saying they very well might order additional 747-8Is when the changes have been certified. I like Lufthansa.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Meanwhile, in Antarctica...

Anybody up for a B1?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

5,000 lbs Down, 5,000 lbs To Go.

There's an article about jumbo jet backlogs on Aviation Week here, and I direct you to page three. 747-8 Chief Project Engineer (and Iron Maiden lead singer) Bruce Dickinson reveals that they've reached 5,000 pounds in weight reduction and are "on our way to a 10,000-lb. weight reduction". This, along with the 1.6%+ engine fuel burn improvement, 4% increased thrust, flight computer improvements, and reactivation of the tail fuel tank, should boost customer interest in the jet.

There are some interesting comments from Lufthansa in the article about what benefits the tail fuel tank offers besides increased range. I'm starting to think line 1435, D-ABYE, is being modified to enable the tank and will probably be used to test it along with other upgrades. It'd then make sense why this frame has been under refurbishment for so long and might not deliver until as late as 2015. Boeing is planning a test program in 2013 for all of these major improvements, and it'd make sense to me to use already existing frames like D-ABYE and maybe some of the rejected Atlas frames.

You might notice there's red on the Production chart again. Line 1438 was parked last week at the tower apron. I think refurbishment has been completed on her, but with Cathay's two remaining (original order) deliveries not expected to take place till mid year 2013, I suppose they're in no rush to put engines on and fly the thing around. I also think Boeing likes having crippled airframes parked all over their airport. Some sort of empty nest syndrome.

Here are some pics from test flights for lines 1422 and 1468 today. Both should be getting ready to deliver soon.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

BBJ #8 First Flight

First flight for line 1468 (some minor issues cut the flight a bit short):

Line 1463 for ABC back from Portland, painted:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Secret Delivery?

According to Cawby, BBJ line 1466 (RC007) A4O-HMS for Oman Royal Flight delivered today, although no delivery flight was registered anywhere I could find. Anybody know where it went? Lufthansa Technik is expecting another 747-8 BBJ, but I'm not sure if it's this one. L3 is expecting another 747-8 BBJ as well.

Anyways, this is delivery 29 for the year. So close yet so far. Lines 1420 and 1422 are supposed to deliver this month, tying the 21st century delivery record of 31, but to break it it'll come down to line 1463 for ABC, which has finished non customer flight tests and should be out of paint any day, or line 1468 for a mysterious BBJ customer with ties to Qatar. This latter plane is painted but hasn't taken to the air yet. It should be close though, and line 1467 right before it only took eight days from first flight to delivery. Anything is possible!

Monday, December 10, 2012

747-8I Los Angeles service began today

Lufthansa's 747-8I service to LAX has begun today, and here's a shot of D-ABYA
1443) arriving into the L.A area earlier this afternoon, thanks to Bob the airplane nut and racingwinds.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Maybe BBJ's aren't easy deliveries after all...

People (including me) have had the opinion that Boeing Business Jet deliveries are easier than regular customer deliveries. As a counterargument to this opinion, line 1466 is currently on its 4th or possibly 5th customer flight prior to delivery. UPDATE: Three test flights for the day now.

Line 1467 (RC580) N853GT for Atlas/DHL is set to deliver this afternoon. UPDATE: And it did. #28 for the year, #7 of 9 for Atlas.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

BGZ Delivery

A surprise delivery (at least to me) just happened for an older frame that has been sitting around in limbo for a while. Line 1430 (RC601) VQ-BGZ for AirBridgeCargo just took off for Hong Kong and a long life of efficiently hauling cargo around the world while looking cool (click pics for more detail).

I think this delivery actually happened in November, according to this link (it claims 27 frames were delivered through November 28th, I had 26 in my last post through November 30th), which is filled with more 747-8 details worth reading. Basically, freight markets are still slow, so orders are slow, but Boeing still feels both freight and passenger versions will see renewed life by 2014. I'm a hopeful believer!

Line 1422 for NCA (the third test frame) is scheduled for a test flight this morning as well.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

November Wrap Up: Out of the Red

Well, the month of November 2012 is over. There were only three deliveries, out of an expected five or six. Two BBJ's, lines 1434 (the first test 747-8i) for Kuwait and 1459 (maybe) for Bahrain delivered, as well as line 1465 for Cargolux. A couple other deliveries slipped into (hopefully) December. The 2012 delivery total is currently at 26; 32 is looking like a long shot now. (Edit from the future, 12/2/2012: Looks like there were four deliveries in November, including frame 1430 for ABC).

Another milestone in November is the lack of any red in my production chart, which means there are no more undelivered stored frames. The last one, line 1437 for a still unknown/nonexistent customer and parked at the tower ramp seemingly forever, was moved to stall 119 to begin refurbishment just two days ago. Photo by Matt Cawby.

This also means there are now 14 747's sitting on the KPAE flight line. Well, one is in the paint hanger and should be out any second now. And one is at the EMC technically. But still, that's a lot of jumbo frames sitting around preparing or waiting for delivery. Test flights on two frames, line 1466, a BBJ for Oman, and 1477, a freighter for Atlas/DHL, have been quite active, and both should be delivering in the next couple days. But everything else seems stagnant. Rumors have been mentioned about this involving the contract issues between Boeing and their engineers. I hope things get resolved soon, because it would be so boring without wide body progress to report blog and read about.

The chart has been updated with the latest status 747Classic posted on

Edit: This popped up on Matt Cawby's blog. Line 1468 for a Qatari customer?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thirteen Birds On The Flight Line

As the title states, there are 13 747-8s on the flight line. It's getting crowded. At least three or four should be delivering over the next month, hopefully more.

Line 1429 seems to have finished up refurbishment, as she was moved to a new stall and is looking complete. It'll be interesting to see if they start test flights or if she just sits around longer. There's still no apparent customer. Picture by Matt Cawby.

Line 1467 N853GT for Atlas/DHL had a first flight a couple days ago, and flew two, almost three times today. It seems they're trying to get this frame delivered quickly. Pictures of first flight by moonm and Matt Cawby.

Lastly, the missing Cargolux frame (787-8 frame 1) is back on the flight line. Maybe she was getting some paint touched up in a hanger.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cargolux's vanishing undelivered 747-8s

First line 1465 did it, now line 1420 is doing it. For the week or so before 1465 delivered to Cargolux, it vanished from all flight line pictures. Then it delivered like nothing happened. Now line 1420 is gone from flight line pictures. It hasn't been on a recent test flight as far as I can tell. Where are these Cargolux birds disappearing to?

Yes this is a totally unimportant update.

Lets see: Cathay hints that they depend more and more on their 747-8's to be profitable. Also, it seems like line 1433 for Cathay has officially commenced refurbishment.

I was flight aware-ing delivered 747-8's (what else to do on a Friday night?), and they all seem pretty active, other than AirBridgeCargo's two planes, which haven't been flying much recently. I wonder what's going on there. Could it be related to that engine blowout? Or does it have something to do with the delayed deliveries of those two frames, one ready, one almost, sitting at KPAE? Hmmmm.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bad(ish) News

Cargolux and Qatar are breaking up, citing irreconcilable differences. Read more here. Looks like Admiral Ackbar (Al Baker) was making unreasonable demands, even wanting Cargolux to cancel its seven remaining 747-8 orders. What a jerk, at least from a Boeing and/or 747 fan's viewpoint. He was behind all the original drama over the first 747-8 deliveries to Cargolux last year. Cargolux has been losing money these past few years though. I hope this doesn't delay future deliveries, and that the 747-8 helps to turn their losses around.

Boeing feels there is no market for very large aircraft like the 747-8 in Latin America. Bummer.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cargolux Delivery #6, and chart talk.

Line 1465 (RC507) LX-VCG just had her delivery flight. This is Cargolux's 6th delivered (of 13 ordered) 747-8.

I'd like to call your attention to the additional tabs in my 747-8 chart. Other than the default "Production" chart tab, there are tabs for:
  • a "Sort By Delivery" chart, which shows the order of delivered frames.
  • a "Sort By Airline/Delivery" chart, which shows the order of delivery for each airline.
  • a "Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) Status" chart, which focuses on the status of BBJ airframes beyond their initial delivery from KPAE, right up to final delivery into the hands of their wealthy new owners.
  • a "Key" chart, which defines the color coding of other charts.
Here's a link to the chart itself, in full screen form.
And for kicks and a sense of progress, here again is a comparison of the current chart to its original state when I started it back in May 2012.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Flight for Line 1463

Line 1463 (RC604) VQ-BRH for AirBridgeCargo just took off for the first time. She's currently unpainted. This will be the second frame ready to deliver for ABC, as line 1430 already sits finished and waiting to be taken home.

An interesting article on 747-8 status was posted on Flight Global. Read it here. Things of note:
  • Boeing is looking to cut 5000 lbs from future frames.
  • Engine improvements of 1.6% fuel burn, 4% additional thrust.
  • FMC updates and aerodynamic improvements.
Boeing says real world fuel burn is already 1% better than forecast. They're going to start a new major test flight program for the above items, as well as the tail fuel tank, in 2013, which should be complete by the end of the year. I wonder if they'll use new frames for this test, or possibly the old Atlas NTU frames and Lufthansa line 1435 (which would explain the rumored delivery delay to 2015).

Line 1420 for Cargolux (City of Vianden) returned painted from Portland a couple days ago. This is a beautiful pic by Russell Hill:

Anyone know where Cargolux line 1465 is? She's been missing from the last few flight line pictures.

Already delivered line 1449 A7-HJA for BBJ customer Qatar flew from Kansas to France after finishing her Aeroloft cabin install. There she will finish off her VIP cabin installation. Here she is landing at Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport.

Here are some pics of line 1463's taxi run, daring escape from the runway just prior to an early landing of a LAN 787, and eventual B1 takeoff. Here she is preparing for taxi test.

Just off the runway after taxi test, less than a minute later LAN 787 line 80 CC-BBC returns from a B1 cut short for some reason.

Immediately back onto the runway for takeoff.

When things finally get going, they can really move fast at KPAE.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2012 Delivery Speculation - Going for a record?

Atlas's line 1467 (RC580) N853GT rolled out of the paint hanger today in DHL Polar livery.

The magic number is 31. That's how many 747s delivered back in 2001, and is the highest delivery total for a year in the 21st century. I'm hoping this year Boeing can beat it. So far, 25 frames have delivered in 2012. We need 7 more to beat the post year 2000 record.

Here's what I know is delivering before the end of 2012:
1.) Line 1465 for Cargolux.
2.) Line 1466 for Boeing Business Jets.
3.) Line 1467 for Atlas.

Here's what I think is delivering before the end of 2012:
4.) Line 1420 for Cargolux.
5.) Line 1468 for Boeing Business Jets.

That leaves two. Possibilities are:
Line 1422 for NCA.
Line 1430 for ABC.
Line 1463 for ABC.
Line 1469 for  NCA.

I'm pretty sure at least one each will deliver for NCA and ABC, which would give us 32, and the new record. Cross your fingers! This is probably the last chance, as they only produce 23-24 747 frames a year maximum right now (and demand isn't going to up that rate unless something crazy happens), and they'd only have 6 or 7 surplus frames to add to that total next year.

It looks like they're doing some serious work on line 1435's tail, the second 8I test frame destined for Lufthansa. I read somewhere that delivery of this frame has been pushed back to 2015! Wonder what's up with that...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Test frame #3 returns

Update: I was right! (Thanks to Matt Cawby)

Line 1422 (RC522) JA12KZ for Nippon Cargo Airlines just returned, painted in NCA livery, to Paine Field. This was the third 747-8 test frame, and had been going through a slow refurbishment at Lackland AFB. She then flew to Victorville for an apparent repaint over her former Boeing light test livery. This would make sense as to why I didn't see her there last weekend; she was in a hanger. At least, I think she's painted in NCA livery, judging by my extremely low res pictures (the tail on NCA and Boeing light are very similar, but the blue on the bottom of the fuselage says NCA).

Also, previously a Dreamlifter took off.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Old news (Two deliveries)

I went to Southern California Logistics in Victorville, CA on Thursday to hopefully get pictures and a status update on line 1422, and possibly see the Qatar 787 that's also there, but in summary I failed at both. Later I'll make a separate post about the visit with the (mostly boring) pics I did get if you're bored enough to want to see them. The trip ended with a three day visit to Las Vegas which I just got back from, hence my lateness in commenting on the following two events:

Line 1459 delivered on Friday. It's a BBJ supposedly destined for the Government of Bahrain. It flew down to Texas and has been flying around out of Waco, doing I'm not sure what.

Line 1434 (RC001) 9K-GAA for the Government of Kuwait delivered Saturday. This was the first 747-8I prototype. It flew to Kansas City for further outfitting.

The day after my last post with the ruminations about what a 747-8I BBJ costs, 747Classic posted this image in, almost like he was answering my question:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Delivery delays and opulence

Looks like three frames I expected to be delivered in October are slipping. Line 1430 for ABC, line 1434 for Kuwait (which went on what I think was a C2 flight today), and line 1459 (possibly) for Bahrain. I'm expecting the latter two to deliver in the next week, but 1430 for ABC is turning into a mystery. It sometimes seems like these delivery schedules are much more volatile than one would imagine for a 300 million dollar product. You'd think they'd have this stuff locked down tight, but I get the feeling some of these customers are like walk on shoppers at a used car lot.

October's delivery tally is 3. Atlas, Lufthansa, and Cathay were the proud new owners.

I was reading this article on the outfitting of one of the 747-8 BBJ airframes, and it's hard to fathom the amount of money that is spent on these private jumbos. I mean, buying the plane alone is hundreds of millions of dollars, then throw in 3-4 years of custom outfitting. How much does the end product actually cost? How much is it going to get utilized? Does it even matter? At least the money is getting spent, I suppose. Good for the economy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sneak Delivery #8 for Cathay

Line 1464 (RC560) B-LJJ for Cathay just delivered in a most surreptitious manner. I didn't get a webcam pic. This is Cathay's 8th of 10 ordered frames, and the last two are earlier frames still in refurbishment or storage that probably won't deliver until next year. Airplane delivery sure can take its sweet time. Watch here.

Lines 1434 and 1459, both BBJ's, have gone on a few more B or maybe C flights, and are getting ready to deliver in the next week. 1434 is for the government of Kuwait, and rumor is 1459 is for the government of Bahrain.

I'm still trying to find out if line 1422 is at Victorville for a short stay or long term storage. I might just take a drive out there in a week or two to see for myself. It's only an hour or so away from me.

Lastly, line 1467 for Atlas rolled out of the FAL a couple days ago, unpainted with a blue rudder. Line 1471, also for Atlas, should be on the FAL now. It was interesting to me that only about ten days passed between line 1466 and 1467 rolling out of the FAL. I thought the rate was more like 16-18 days between roll outs.

Bonus update: Line 1465 is painted in full Cargolux livery and back on the flight line. That was quick. Seemed like she just went in the paint hanger a couple days ago. Things can move fast when Boeing wants to. Line 1464 took 10 days from first flight to delivery. Then you have other frames that take years to deliver. Pic courtesy of Matt Cawby.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Delivery #4 for Lufthansa

Line 1456 (RC025) D-ABYF for Lufthansa just took off on a delivery flight. This is Lufthansa's fourth delivered frame. I hope to be flying on this airplane over to Europe in February 2013, if it ends up serving the LAX route as rumored.

Line 1422 (the third test frame) flew from Lackland to Victorville California. I'm not sure why. Qatar's first 787 went here a couple weeks ago to get connectivity installed, but I don't think a freighter for Nippon Cargo needs connectivity. I'll be watching to see what her next move is.

Line 1420 (the first test frame) headed off to Portland for a new coat of paint. She should return looking like the rest of her Cargolux sisters.

And earlier, line 1434 (the first 8I test frame) for Kuwait went on a B2 of sorts.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

B1 of sorts

Line 1434 (RC001) 9K-GAA, the recently repainted BBJ for the State of Kuwait, is up in the air for the first time since the new livery. This frame was the first 747-8I test frame (so it's been in the air many times before, in the 747-8I orange and red sunrise livery), and should be ready for delivery by the end of the month. (Photo by royalscottking)

Speaking of deliveries, the flight line is getting mighty crowded with not only 787s but 747s. There are a bunch of 747s due for delivery over the next few weeks though; six exactly. Line 1430 for ABC, line 1434 for Kuwait, line 1456 for Lufthansa, line 1459 for BBJ, and lines 1464 and 1465 for Cathay and Cargolux respectively, should all be delivered by the middle of November. Filling in those six vacancies through November will probably be three frames: lines 1467 and 1468 for Atlas and BBJ, and line 1422 for Nippon Cargo which has been going through test flights after refurbishment at Lackland AFB and will probably be returned to Everett when space clears up.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Morning B1 and B2

Line 1459 (RC006) N455BJ, a Boeing Business Jet for an unknown customer, just took off for the first time.

Earlier line 1464 (RC560) B-LJJ for Cathay went on a B2. Here she is returning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2 Birds, 1 Stone

Two B1 flights today, and I did my own bit of bird watching.

Line 1465 (RC507) LX-VCG for Cargolux had a first flight at around 12:15pm. This is her returning (still unpainted):

And line 1464 (RC560) B-LJJ for Cathay had a first flight at around 3:08pm. This is her taking off:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Through the grapevine

Some interesting freighter pilot chat here:

They talk about how Kalitta is probably going to soon get the unused 747-400ERF (line 1416) I was fretting about, as well as some stored and lightly used Jade 747-400's.

Also, someone who seems to be knowledgeable about Atlas's internal affairs claims (speaking in the first person) 747-8 lines 1429, 1432, and 1437 were in fact rejected due to being too heavy and burning too much fuel, and another poster claims the frames are spoken for. No surprise, but I wonder who's getting them. I'm putting my money on Korean Air Cargo, with a runner up being Nippon Cargo.

Odds and ends

Line 1422 (RC522) JA-12KZ for Nippon Cargo Airlines, and the third 747-8 test aircraft, was flying around today at Lackland AFB where she's undergoing refurbishment.

Lufthansa's next frame, line 1456 (RC025) D-ABYF, was up in the air again for more testing.

Line 1464 (RC560) B-LJJ for Cathay is painted and getting really close to a first flight after successfully completing taxi tests. Maybe tomorrow.

Line 1466, another BBJ for a currently unspecified customer, rolled out of the FAL unpainted. This means line 1470 for Lufthansa has probably entered final assembly. Lufthansa still seems pleased with their new planes.

British Airways is still deciding on replacements for their 747-400's. The article only mentions the 777X, the 787-10, and the A350-1000 as contenders, but the fan in me hopes some 747-8I's work their way into that future order.

A beautiful profile pic of line 1459 from Matt Cawby:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Line 1456 for Lufthansa has gone on a B3 flight.... <crickets>

Line 1446 (RC004) HZ-HMS1, a BBJ for a Saudi Arabian royalty who apparently passed away, was ferried from San Bernadino to Lackland AFB on the 6th. This is a delivered plane, but it never entered service. Its future is cloudy right now. I'm guessing it's paid for, and will probably be resold.


There's been some movement on the tarmac, with some 747s shifted around to the fuel dock (line 1459, another BBJ that is yet to fly) and the tower apron (I think this one is just line 1432 again), but that's about it. I'm hoping things pick up a bit soon. They need to if Boeing wants to hit their delivery targets.

I added a numerical index to the spread sheet, and also added two tabs for sorting by delivery and sorting by airline and delivery. They don't work as well as I'd like, but I think I'm up against limitations of Google Docs currently.

Update: Matt Cawby reported Line1456 for Lufthansa had an engine replaced on Monday before today's flight. I wonder why. I wish I was an insider and could bring you juicy info here... but I'm not. Just a fan.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nice stripes

RC001 is out of the paint hanger in full State of Kuwait livery. Looking very "presidential", and much less red and orange. And here I was expecting boring white. Thanks to Matt Cawby.

Update: Just hit a thousand blog views. Takin' over the world, Baby!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome back, Number One

Line 1420 (RC501) LX-VCA is headed back from Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio to Paine Field. This frame was the first 747-8 test aircraft. It recently went on a couple test flights so there was suspicion that it was getting close to being completed after undergoing a leisurely refurbishment in Texas. I'd guess that the next step will be a trip to the paint hanger before a hand off to Cargolux, but we'll see. After all this is Boeing and Cargolux we're talking about, and just look at all the drama currently going on in 787 land. Anyway it's always good to see progress on getting these older frames out the door.

Line 1456 for Lufthansa has gone on a B2 flight, and line 1462 finally left on a delivery flight to Atlas after some mysterious delay (see my previous post). Line 1430 for AirBridgeCargo should be delivering any day now. I'm also looking forward to seeing line 1434 coming out of the paint hanger, although on second thought she'll probably just be plain white, so that won't be too exciting. Oh well, you take what you can get in the slow moving world of 747-8 production.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Atlas Delivery #6

Line 1462 (RC579) N852GT for Atlas Air is preparing for a delivery flight as I type. This is Atlas's sixth of nine ordered 747-8 frames.

Update: Scratch that. Looks like she never actually took off.

Update 2: 10/2/2012 - Finally a delivery flight for real this time.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Erst Flight

That's about the extent of my German, but nonetheless line 1456 (RC025) D-ABYF, destined to be Lufthansa's fourth 747-8i sometime in October, had a B1 flight today. The flight looked like it went swimmingly.

The other two frames in test right now, lines 1430 and 1462, have both also flown more test flights, and are hopefully approaching delivery any time now. And when they do, you'll hear it here first! Unless someone else beats me to it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Minor update (and 744 line 1416)

Line 1465 for Cargolux is out of final assembly, unpainted on the flightline.

Line 1462 for Atlas has been on a couple test flights this week and should be approaching delivery really soon.

My new curiosity is a late model 747-400: line 1416. Apparently it, along with line 1419 (the last 747-400 to come off the assembly line), were originally intended for LoadAir Cargo in 2009, but both were not taken up due to LoadAir folding. They were then stored at a desert air park in New Mexico for a couple years. Line 1419 was put into service at the end of last year with Kalitta Air, happily, but line 1416 still sits without a home, virtually brand new. If any of the few people who read this blog have any updates on this frame, please share! I hate unused airframes.

As a possibly interesting diversion to the lack of real news, I reverted a version of the chart to where it was when I started it, back in May or June, only modified to match the newer format. It's kind of nice to be able to see the progress.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Unsolved mysteries

There's been little activity so far this week on the 747-8 front, at least as far as I can see. There've been no test flights or deliveries since my last report. Line 1434 has moved into the paint hanger for a strip and repaint. So long, Big Orange!

There are a couple of mysteries I've been trying to resolve, with no luck yet.

One mentioned in comments (first comment milestone!) is regarding the three rejected Atlas frames, lines 1429, 1432, and 1437. Comparable frames have been refurbished and delivered to their respective customers, but apparently these ones weren't good enough for Atlas, as they were "not taken up" and replaced by other future frames. One, line 1429, is going through refurbishment, and the other two are languishing around the Paine tower. So what's in store for these three frames? Will Atlas eventually accept them, or will some other customer step in?

The other mystery are the first three frames, lines 1420, 1421, and 1422. They've been going through refurbishment at Lackland in San Antonio for a while now, and I've seen a couple pictures here and there, but I'm really curious as to what their exact status is; how long until they deliver? I believe line 1431 for Nippon Cargo was refurbished at Lackland too, so I suppose it's just a matter of time.

Arik Air has ceased operations indefinitely while conflict between the airline and union has turned ugly. Arik has two 747-8 firm orders, as well as some 777/787 firm orders. Hopefully they pull through.

Here's a good tour of Lufthansa's 747-8.

And finally, the last old (formerly American Airlines) 747-100 Shuttle Carrier, N905NA, will hoist her final cargo, Space Shuttle Endeavor, on her back today and tomorrow over Southern California. Good job old girl!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Another B1

Line 1430 (RC601) VQ-BGZ, destined for AirBridgeCargo, lifted into the air for the first time today. Another older airframe that had been sitting around for quite some time (a year or two?), getting ready for service. Makes you so proud to see 'em growin' up and movin' out, doesn't it? Here's the plane a month earlier undergoing refurb.

Boeing seems to be continuing tests flights on GEnx based frames without delay, which gives hope that the problem with them will not be a show stopper.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I got 99 problems

and a fan midshaft splintering is one. It is looking like the GEnx mid shaft fracture problem is a serious one. Something is causing these parts to come apart, and it likely isn't wear or corrosion. This problem will probably affect (delay) deliveries for both 747 and 787 for the foreseeable future. The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended all in service engines to be inspected for cracks in the meanwhile, and I'm sure GE engineers are scrambling to come up with a solution.

In other news, line 1462 (RC579) N852GT for Atlus was found airworthy, having a B1 flight yesterday.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Delivery approaches!

It's been a bit slow on the 747-8 news front this past week or so, but yesterday, line 1461 (RC506) LX-VCF for Cargolux had a short delivery flight to Seattle, where it was loaded with cargo (I'm assuming) and flown to Luxembourg.

The word on the street is saying line 1434, the original 747-8I test frame, is about to enter the paint hanger and will imminently be delivered as a Boeing Business Jet, which will probably entail months of work installing fancy accommodations before finally landing in the lap of its owners in Kuwait.

Other than that, there have been no recent B1 flights, so activity remains slow it seems. I suppose the 787 line is getting all the attention, as it's been hopping lately.

One bit of concerning news regards an engine failure on an in service 747-8F. One of AirBridgeCargo's planes suffered an event with its GE engine on the runway, and is under investigation. It was apparently similar to a recent 787 GE engine blowout that occurred in Charleston during pre-delivery test.

One more bit of news, this time good. Air China firmed up their order for 5 new 747-8I airframes, bringing the total number of 747-8I firm orders to 41, and the total number of 747-8 firm orders to 111. The more 747-8 orders, the merrier!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Delivery news

Line 1426 (RC546) HL7610 had its delivery flight for Korean Air Cargo today, flying out to Incheon International in Seoul South Korea. This was an older 747-8 frame, and it's good to see it on its way into service. Left with a nice wave goodbye too.

Also, last week, line 1439 (RC002) A7-HHE, a Boeing Business Jet destined for a customer in Qatar, had a Greenpoint Technologies Aeroloft cabin installed at Boeing Global Transport & Executive Systems (GTES) in Wichita, Kansas, and was then ferried for her VIP Cabin outfitting at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, Germany.

Friday, August 31, 2012

First update

Today Line 1460 (RC559) B-LJI had its delivery flight for Cathay Pacific Cargo. This was Cathay's 7th of 10 ordered 747-8 freighters.

Yesterday Line 1461 (RC506) LX-VCF had her first flight. This freighter is destined for Cargolux.

Tomorrow an older airframe, Line 1426 (RC546) HL7610 for Korean Air Cargo is scheduled to have a delivery flight.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First post

Inspired by All Things 787, and because I have some time on my hands, the purpose of this blog is to track 747-8 production and delivery. It's a bit late in the game, but better late than never. Just for your information, I have no insider knowledge. I collect my information from, mostly from 747Classic's informative posts, as well as Matt Cawby's blog. I like the color coded spreadsheet format as a way of visualizing progress, and having already created this one for myself a few weeks ago, decided to share it.

Note the color scheme is different, and slightly simpler than All Things 787. The general idea is that blue indicates assembly, red indicates lack of activity on an undelivered aircraft, and green indicates a delivered plane in service. As the color shifts from blue to green (and possibly red in between there if progress has stopped) you can easily visualize the state of the aircraft. Oh, and the initial column uses purple to represent freighters and white to represent passenger aircraft.

Please let me know what you think!

Here is the chart: