The Chart:

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: