The new 747-8 jumbo jet: Up close and inside
Seattle Times aerospace reporter
Unlike the Dreamliner that Boeing rolled out in 2007 but didn't get off the ground for two-and-a-half years, the new 747-8 jumbo jet unveiled in Everett on Sunday is not an empty shell.
"We're going to roll out an airplane that's darn near ready to fly," Boeing commercial airplanes chief Jim Albaugh said in an interview. "I think it'll fly within three or four weeks."
An advance tour inside the giant passenger plane, the 747-8 Intercontinental, revealed final preparations for flight testing.
The flight deck is ready for the pilots to take the controls. A little label above the pilot's steering yoke reads: "Boeing 001. Flight test."
In the cavernous passenger cabin, Boeing has installed racks of computer equipment and dozens of interconnected black barrels so that during the upcoming flight tests, the water that serves as ballast can be pumped around to simulate various loads.
On the outside, the plane looks dramatic because of what Albaugh called "that bigger bump on top."
This latest model of the iconic jumbo jet, whose first version flew in 1969, has an extended forward fuselage hump with a row of windows that stretches all the way back to the wings.
The rival Airbus A380 superjumbo airliner, with its full-length double-decker passenger cabin, has a regular, more nondescript fuselage shape. But the curve of the 747-8 upper fuselage hump will be distinctive even to people unfamiliar with airplane types.
Boeing's marketing mavens developed a brash new burnt-orange sunburst paint scheme unique to the plane in Sunday's ceremonial rollout.
"We wanted to gain the world's attention and to give the message that this is not your father's 747," said Steven Myers, a senior designer with Boeing's Seattle-based design partner Teague.
A swooping horizon line along the side of the jet separates a predominantly reddish orange lower fuselage from the pearl-white upper fuselage. Silvery gray highlights and gold stripes fade into the main blocks of color.
A nonmetallic mica in the clear topcoat will sparkle in sunlight.
Inside the hangar where the plane had just been painted, Myers said Boeing chose the reddish color scheme to appeal specifically to the Asian customers that are expected to be the major buyers of this jet.
The stylized figure 8 on the vertical tail fin represents the model number, but also conveys the Chinese "lucky number" representing prosperity and wealth.
The fading effect was done by hand and the paint job took 10 days, said Bill Dill, Boeing's paint operations leader.
The plane that rolled out Sunday � 250 feet long with a 224-foot wingspan � is a VIP jet for a private buyer, so it will never have a conventional airliner interior.
After flight tests are completed it will be refurbished and customized for the buyer.
Right now, the long passenger cabin is carpeted and has some stow bins and sidewalls in place.
But orange wiring snakes along the floor to the racks of electronic boxes in the center. And the interior space is otherwise largely empty except for the squat, load-shifting water barrels fore and aft, connected by tubes.
At the back of the cabin, a device resembling a giant hamster wheel is installed, about four feet in diameter. During test flights this wheel reels in and out from the tip of the vertical tail a long tubular line attached to a cone-shaped sensor that takes air pressure readings well away from the fuselage.
Admiring the paint scheme his team had completed, Dill said of the Sunday rollout that "the queen is ready for the ball."
Even better, the hardware inside suggests the queen is also nearly ready for her working flight tests.
LINK TO PHOTO GALLERY:
LINK TO VIDEO:
June 2021 May 2021 April 2021 March 2021 February 2021 January 2021 December 2020 November 2020 October 2020 September 2020 August 2020 July 2020 June 2020 May 2020 April 2020 March 2020 February 2020 January 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008