The Chart:

Monday, November 16, 2015

100th 747-8 Delivered

Today a rare double 747-8 delivery took place for AirBridgeCargo. Line 1501 RC671 VQ-BFU and line 1502 RC672 VQ-BFE both flew off to Russia, marking the 99th and 100th delivered 747-8s.

These two frames were formerly earmarked for Asiana, so it's nice to see them finally fly into service well over a year after rolling out of the factory.

Can't wait for delivery #200.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Happy Second Birthday Line 1416!

(In service birthday, at least). My how time flies.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cargolux Takes One and Maybe Five More

Yesterday line 1522 RC513 LX-VCM delivered to Cargolux, the last of their original order of 13 748Fs. However, they're already talking about taking five more. Line 1534 is scheduled for final assembly, so they better make up their minds quick. These five frames are earmarked for a north central China based operation.

Line 1522 has a very interesting livery. Can't say I'm fond of it.

Photo by moonm

PS - Sorry, I've sucked at updating the blog lately, but I still keep the chart pretty up-to-date. I got my private pilot certificate back in May and flying (albeit much smaller) planes myself has competed with my love of watching them from afar.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Korean Air Takes Their First 747-8I

Today, Boeing and Korean Air celebrated the delivery of their first 747-8I, line 1506 RC051 HL7630. This marks the first of ten Intercontinentals for Korean Air. Unfortunately for us, these ten will probably be the last ten 747-8Is to deliver in passenger configuration.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Korean Air in the Air

Line 1506 RC051 HL7630, Korean Air's first 747-8I, had her first flight today. She's been sitting around in storage for eleven months, so it's about time. Korean Air should take their first 748I next month, with nine more to follow.

Great shot by Royal S King

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

747-8 Flutter Fix Gonna Cost Boeing

The FAA has decided the 747-8 flutter issue is real and needs fixing. Note that it only can happen in very limited circumstances, but Boeing will have to foot the bill at $400,000 per plane to fix it. That's about 30 million dollars to cover all of the currently delivered frames.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pakistan International Airlines Rumored to be Buying Five 747-8Is

There's a credible rumor going around that PIA is looking at five 747-8Is, but this could actually be a sign of bad news for the 747-8I. One version of the rumor is that Korean Airlines has delayed or cancelled five of their ten ordered 747-8Is, which turns a potential PIA order into more of a scramble to place unwanted 747-8Is. Korean Air already has seven of their ten frames in various stages of construction (one is painted and looks complete, one is getting seats installed and should be painted soon, two are in final assembly, and three are in early stages of assembly).


Thursday, June 25, 2015

747-8I Trip Report

Back in late February I had to fly to Barcelona, so I seized the opportunity to fly on the 747-8I with Lufthansa. I've flown in a number of 747s before but this was my first trip in the 8I.

The route of the flight was Carlsbad (KCRQ) - Los Angeles (KLAX) - Frankfurt (EDDF) - Barcelona (LEBL). The equipment was:
  • KCRQ-KLAX: Skywest/United Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia (N584SW there, N221SW back)
  • KLAX-EDDF: Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I  (D-ABYI there, D-ABYL back)
  • EDDF-LEBL: Lufthansa Airbus A321-200 (D-AISP there, D-AIDL back)
The Embraer, by the way, was a fun little twenty minute flight. The greatest part of this was the service from a quiet airport ten minutes from my house, with all the perks of connecting. Although, actually connecting at LAX from terminal 8 to the Tom Brady International terminal is extremely inconvenient. It's a looooooooong walk and there's no transportation (other than a $20 taxi around the loop). At least I didn't have to worry about my luggage.

The 747-8I is a 747 through and through. I sat in premium economy, which is nice. It's really what all standard economy seating should be; enough room to be comfortable and retain a little dignity. Lufthansa's interiors are immaculate and modern. The plane itself vibrated a bit on takeoff both times, but other than that was a smooth ride. Very 747 like. Feels like a flying tank. Nothing feels 'widebody' to me like a 747. You can feel the inertia absorb turbulence, turning it into more of a comfortable rumble rather than a disconcerting rattle. The engines are amazingly quiet. I almost missed the racket you usually hear on takeoff. Now it's more of just a calm, firm push back into your seat.

I've talked about it before, but I went into the cabin and talked to the pilot and copilot. You can read about his comments here.

Some pictures, and then full videos of takeoff and descent below:

Brasilia at Carlsbad
Flight to Germany. They must have known I was coming.
Frankfurt is still a 747 haven.
D-ABYH had an issue, so they wheeled her off. She flew a different route later in the day.
D-ABYL rolls in to save the day.
747-8I cockpit
Here is video I took of the departure and the landing coming back from Frankfurt: 

I also captured a bit of the return trip departure and arrival on the Brasilia coming home from Los Angeles:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Air China Order Filled

Early this morning the final 747-8I for Air China, line 1518 RC072 B-2480, flew off on her delivery flight. Thus another 747-8I order is filled.

Via Woody
Now that Air China has all seven airframes (from an initial order of five and a top up of two), it sure would be nice if they decided they want a nice even number of 747-8s, like 10, or 20. At least they're all being used for passenger flight. Early on there were rumors anywhere from two to all of them would be for VIP only.

And on a related note, one of Air China's frames, line 1510 B-2479, is in Germany undergoing a VIP conversion. This plane has been flying in a passenger only config since delivery late last year, including long haul routes to New York and San Francisco, so I postulate this is some sort of swappable conversion, and she'll be able to be used as VIP when needed and a passenger plane the rest of the time. That's the smart way to do VIP.

Volga-Dnepr Group (sort of) Orders 20 747-8Fs

Hot off the presses, Volga-Dnepr Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to take 20 747-8Fs over the next seven years. Part of this deal includes logistic support from Volga's Antonov-124-100 fleet, which is often seen delivering fuselages and other things to Paine Field. The reason I say "sort of" is because an MOU is just the first step in a long process of getting orders firmed up.

Read about it here.

This is about three 747s a year through 2022. If Boeing can sign a few more airlines, like Cargolux, to similar deals, they very well could keep the 747 line churning at twelve or so frames a year into the 2020s. Exciting news.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lufthansa Order Filled

Today is bittersweet. Lufthansa takes the final delivery of their order for 19 747-8Is. The order that kicked off the program is filled. Line 1514 RC040 D-ABYU is the last Lufty frame to leave the nest.

It's pretty certain now that there won't be a top up order from Lufthansa, as many of us had hoped. Sadder still that they won't be taking line 1435 either. Line 1435's future looks dire; years in a desert, followed by, at best, sparse use by a BBJ customer on Rolex shopping trips. Maybe Air Morocco will take her.

But alas, let us celebrate Lufthansa for at least being the catalyst behind the beautiful 748I, and operating by far the largest fleet of them, hopefully deep into the 21st century.

I still need to write about my trip on the 748 last month. In summary: it was cool.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Time of Reckoning for Line 1435

After a few test flights, tonight she moves into the paint hanger at KPAE.

I have a small hope she comes out dressed in "Lufthansa" livery and there's a happy ending after all.

But my gut says she'll be wearing "Extremely Long Term Desert Storage" livery of flat white.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Line 1435 - First Flight for the Third Time

Line 1435 RC021 flew again today. This is sort of a first flight after the extended rework following the test program completed over a year ago. And that test program was after an extended rework following the original 748I test flight program.

It's still unclear what the future holds for 1435. Some say she's destined to sit in the desert. I'm starting to feel that's what's in store for her as well. If that's the case, she'll probably head down to Marana in the next few days. So get your pics of her now!

From Matt Cawby, line 1435 shedding a tear of rejection.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Elon Musk's New Plane Flies Inside Emirates' Empty A380s, Halves Trip Time

Exciting announcement today by visionary Elon Musk:

"I noticed that Emirates Airlines is sending thousands of empty A380s to almost every airport on Earth, multiple times a day. I figured that with a new lightweight electric motor, a smaller plane could fly inside all of this empty space, essentially doubling the speed at which it travels. This new plane will be able to connect passengers from Dubai to Los Angeles in half the time. And by running off hydroelectric energy generated by the on board shower system nobody really uses, the trip cost for this new narrow body will be virtually zero."

In after hour trading, Tesla stock tripled. Emirates stock didn't budge because there is no stock exchange that deals with Monopoly money.

Read more here:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Short Chat with a Lufthansa 747-8I Captain

I had a quick chat with a Lufthansa 747-8I pilot recently on my way home (I'm still working on a writeup of the flight). Landing in LAX, I asked to go see the cockpit (which I always feel a little stupid doing as a grown man, but screw it), and the crew gratiously invited me upstairs. In the cabin were the captain and the much younger first officer, still shutting the plane down.

The first thing I noticed is the cockpit looked rather old. I was expecting a much more drastic update from the 744, but I couldn't really tell the difference.

The captain was friendly but seemed disengaged from his job (as opposed to the KLM pilot I talked to last year who loved talking about the MD-11). He didn't know anything about a top off order, and he didn't even know how many 748s were in the fleet. I pretended like I didn't either. I asked him about efficiency, and he said the fuel burn was about the same as the 744, and the efficiency was due to the airframe stretch and the additional passengers.

I've heard two stories on this subject. One Lufthansa 748 pilot on has said that the 748 uses noticebly less fuel on a stage than the 744, but this pilot said it's about the same. If it is the latter, it's disappointing. I would expect the 748, with it's four state of the art GEnx-2B engines, to burn less fuel than the old 744 engines. Otherwise, what was the point of the new engines? If they have to work harder to carry the stretch, that seems like a bad return on the more efficient engines.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Catching Up (Old News): Orders!

In old news, 747-8 lovers have had something to be excited about, in that there were some firm orders and speculative orders in the news recently.

First, Silk Way has ordered three more 747-8Fs. These are firm orders. The main area of interest here is if they'll be taking any of the currently three 747-8Fs stored at Marana, or will they be new builds? Or a mix? This probably depends on if Asiana is still talking to Boeing or if that deal really is dead. Either way, that's three firm orders for 2015, only twelve to go. Plus the sixteen they need from last year...

Second, Cargolux's CEO says they will order more 747-8Fs, as many as twenty more. He says there's no replacement for the 747-8F.

And Turkish Airlines is still mentioning the 747. But I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Yankee Sierra Delivers

Line 1512 RC038 D-ABYS delivered to Lufthansa. This is their 17th frame. Only two left to go. (?)

Woody's Aeroimages

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Time Machine

Today Lufthansa's Line 1513 RC039 D-ABYT went up for a B1 in all of her retro glory. Line 1512 RC038 D-ABYS also went on a customer flight, and should deliver in the next week or so.

Photo by Royal S King

Friday, February 13, 2015

I'm Leaving, On a 748.

My company is sending me back to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress March 2-5 this year, and I've happily booked my first 747-8I ride on Lufthansa out of Los Angeles. Premium Economy. Good gosh, airfare is expensive! But fortunately this is all covered.

There will be pictures, believe you me! I'm very excited to finally get to fly in a 748I.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wrong Part 1 (of ? Parts)

Lufthansa's line 1513 RC038 D-ABYT is getting the "retro" livery (link in German). I had predicted D-ABYE would get it. Oh well, I still have a chance at being right about the rest... Pics below.

And in other melancholy news, line 1514 RC039 D-ABYU rolled out last night. She's the final Lufthansa 747-8I to be built. As of now...

As reported by Till Bartels
D-ABYU by Cawby

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Boeing's Buy 99 Get 1 Free Sale

Leeham News reported this morning that Boeing is offering Emirates up to 100 improved 747-8Is. This is really a crazy story, but I love this story and hope it's true. Apparently Boeing is going around the CEO and putting the offer to his boss. Being that it's a rumor, the details are sparse right now. Here's a mock up of what an Emirates 748 might look like:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Two First Flights for January

Both line 1504 RC512 LX-VCL, 748F #12 for Cargolux, and line 1512 RC038 D-ABYS, 748I #17 for Lufthansa, made first flights this month. Both are scheduled to deliver in February. Here they are, learning to fly:

Line 1512 RC038 D-ABYS, by Matt Cawby

Line 1504 RC512 LX-VCL

Line 1504 returning to KPAE after B1