The Chart:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rise From Your Grave(yard) Part Deux - Part 2

Ok, they're both back at KPAE now. This means there are now no 747-8s left in desert storage.

Line 1479 (RC525) JA15KZ for NCA (pic by Matt Cawby)
Line 1482 (RC605) VQ-BRJ for AirBridgeCargo

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rise From Your Grave(yard) Part Deux

Matt Cawby tweeted that the last two frames in storage, line 1479 (RC525) JA15KZ for Nippon Cargo Airlines and line 1482 (RC605) VQ-BRJ for AirBridgeCargo, will head back to KPAE today. NCA 747-8s are all over KPAE right now!

 Update: Didn't happen. But line 1437 (RC573) went for a flight with the FAA on board. And she has blue engines now. What could this mean? If this were a good blog I could tell you :(

Pic by Matt Cawby.

There was an airworthiness directive issued today for 747-8s about a missing bushing that could lead to problems.

RIP 747-400 line 927 JA8957 for ANA. She goes to her doom at Tupelo, the saddest place in the world for a 747 fan. The locals must have gotten a kick seeing this colorful bird come in for a landing.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Korean Confirms, Delta Distances

Korean Air firmed up their top up order of five additional 747-8Is, as part of an order that included six 773ERs and one 787. This means Korean now has ten 747-8Is on order, which should start delivering next year.

Delta CEO Richard Anderson was recently quoted as saying "We had four engines when jet engine technology wasn't advanced. Now jet engines are amazing, amazing machines and you only need two of them". I've had hopes that Delta would be a 747-8I customer. They like proven architectures. They have ten 100,000+ hour 747-400s coming up on retirement around 2017. They like good deals and I'm sure Boeing would be willing to make them happy on price. Anderson, however, seems to throw a wet towel on the prospect. As an aside, his quote sounds a bit Titanic-ish to me in light of the recent issues with GE's most modern "amazing, amazing machines" (re core icing). I'm not saying they aren't amazing; I'm saying they aren't amazing enough for me to not want four of them when I'm 40,000 feet up.

No deliveries to speak of. A rollout, line 1490 (RC510) LX-VCJ for Cargolux (fully painted but no engines), and a test flight for old line 1437 (RC573) today, if the endless fog lifts at Everett. Still trying to figure out what's going on with the latter frame.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I've Got Good News and Bad News...

First the bad: Boeing is lowering their production rate to 1.5 frames a month, 18 a year, down from 1.75 a month, or 21 a year. This doesn't really bother me, because I'd forgotten they were actually at 1.75 and not already at 1.5. This rate extends the current backlog to approximately three years.

Now the good: Project Ozark is a big deal (thanks to Mario Felarca for the link). Not only is Boeing continuing to improve the 747-8, but they have ambitious targets they want to reach, including an 8500 nautical mile range. Boeing doesn't design their planes in a vacuum. They rely on customer input, so there must be some substantial interest in jumbo jets with this kind of range (the newest A380s will also have an 8500 nm range). An easy guess would be the Middle Eastern carriers, but it very well could be anyone. Well maybe not anyone. I doubt it's Southwest Airlines or Air Koryo. I'm speculating that one of the targets is Emirates, possibly as a replacement for some of their A380s when they start to retire them. I think Qantas could be another target.

Lastly, GE is looking at software changes to stop icing in the cores of their 747-8 engines. This event has happened a couple times now, but hasn't caused a real emergency yet thanks to having three spare engines on each jet. What scares me more about this issue is the prospect of it happening on a 787, which shares very similar engines to the 747-8, but only has two.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Transaero Expects Four 747-8Is in 2015

Transaearo has had an MOU (memorandum of understanding) for four 747-8Is in with Boeing for a while now, but little has been heard about firming them up. Some were starting to think it will never happen. Well, just recently in an interview with ATW, Transaero CEO Olga Pleshakova stated they'll have their four new 747-8Is in 2015, and they'll use them in a premier heavy layout similar to Lufthansa. A couple interesting things come from this:
  • These four frames could be the other four commitments in this story, meaning there's another customer new to the 747 ready to buy other frames beyond the eleven mentioned.
  • Could Transaero be taking line 1435 (RC021) after it gets refurbished? They're happily taking early 787 models, so it's a possibility. I really don't want line 1435 going to waste as a BBJ.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oh... My... God...

Line 1416 is scheduled for a test flight this morning.


And landed. Unless she crash landed in the desert near the border, I'm guessing Flight Aware is screwing up, and the flight lasted about 100 minutes. First flight in four years, and she might have crossed 20 hours total flight time now.

So 1416 most likely has a customer. Woo hoo! Can't wait to see her painted so we can know who it is.

Lufthansa Loves the 747-8

Just ask them!

(Now order more!)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

2% Fuel Burn Improvement

Update: Mario in the comments posted the full story here. Talk of four commitments from a new customer!

Glenn Farley is reporting that Boeing is seeing a 2% fuel burn improvement from their ongoing test program for the 747-8. He's also saying Boeing is optimistic about the future of the jet due to the experience Lufthansa is having with it.

Line 1492 (RC031) D-ABYL, 747-8I #10 for Lufthansa, in Final Assembly

Lufthansa, however, recently cancelled three A380 orders, saying they're lowering their growth targets. I had assumed they were going to increase their A380 order by two as opposed to lower it by three; a swing of five frames. I was also hopeful they'd top off their 747-8I order. Could the cancelling of the A380s mean they have no interest in more 747-8Is? Could it mean they'd rather have five more 747-8Is instead of five more A380s? One can only speculate.