The Chart:

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.