Posts Tagged 'boeing 747'

First Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental for Lufthansa

Lufthansa has conducted the first scheduled flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Washington, DC, USA with the brand new Boeing 747-8Intercontinental, which is the latest, and most advanced version of the classic Boeing 747. Lufthansa is the launch customer of the type.

The plane was delivered to Lufthansa (LH) on May 1 (about 2 years later than originally planned)  and has been used for training for a month at its home base in Frankfurt, before her maiden revenue flight on June 1, 2012. Flight LH416 — the first Boeing 747-8I passenger service — passed through the traditional water salute at Frankfurt in the morning and landed at 12:45 local time, 10 min. ahead of schedule. Flying time was 7 hr. 57 min.

The (so far) longest version of the classic Boeing 747 JumboJet has 362 seats in three cabins: 8 seats in First-class, 92 seats in Business-class and 262 in Economy. With this size, it fills the gap between the Airbus A340-600’s and the A380. Even the size (and most of the plane) was designed by Boeing, based on requirements by Lufthansa, making the German carrier a real launch customer of the new -8Intercontinental. Actually Lufthansa was the one originally raising the idea of this type to Boeing, who agreed to make the plane a bit longer, and implement many of the new technologies developed for the 787 Dreamliner program – including state-of-the-art wings with much improved aerodynamics and raked wingtips, some composite materials, fly-by-wire technology and next generation engines.

The fourth-generation 747 is powered by GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B engines, which will bring double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions over its predecessor, the 747-400, while generating 30% less noise (should be noticeable even on board). It should burn 10-15% less fuel than the last 747 version, the -400, which puts it right next to the Airbus A380 in terms of seat-mile-cost. This first plane is within the limits but has not yet reached planned targets in terms of performance requirements, said Deutsch Lufthansa AG Executive Board member Carsten Spohr, as quoted by ATW News. “This first new aircraft (of a new type) is never the best one,” Spohr told ATW. He said the weight of the aircraft is too high, resulting in more fuel burn. Also, he said, the General Electric GEnx-2B engines have to improve. Lufthansa hopes these issues will be resolved by the delivery of the tenth/eleventh plane of the type next year.

It is such an honor to join Lufthansa in welcoming the 747-8 Intercontinental into service,” said Elizabeth Lund, Boeing vice president and general manager, 747 Program. “Lufthansa has provided great inspiration and leadership in helping us design a new Queen of the Skies for the 21st Century, an airplane that Lufthansa will love for its efficiency and reliability, airport neighbors will love for its quiet operations and low emissions, and passengers will love for its beautiful new interior and extra space.

The German flag-carrier has 20 747-8Is on order plus 20 options as part of its biggest-ever fleet modernization program. The aircraft will be delivered at a rate of five aircraft per year through mid-2015. After the Washington route, other destination cities to follow include Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, New Delhi and Bangalore.

Korean Air and Air China are the next customers to receive their first 747-8I type airplanes next year, while Lufthansa will take delivery of four more aircraft this year (the second one within a month).


More about the 747-8I overview, details, development process and the new aircraft in general is available in the Lufthansa Magazine Special Issue on the web or for your iPad in iTunes (highly recommended!) (free app, with a selection of free issues of the Lufthansa Magazine, You should look to download the special Boeing 747-8 edition)

by balint01

Boeing 747-8I First Flight

More than a year after the successful first flight of the Boeing 747-8 Freighter version, the passenger version of the updated JumboJet has taken to the skies for the first time as well.

On March 20, 2011, the latest version of the legendary Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet, the 747-8I (the “I” stand for “Intercontinental”) has taken off from Paine Field at 9:59 local time, to land at Boeing Field at 14:24 – after four and a half hours in the air. The plane was piloted by Boeing 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein and captain Paul Stemer. They told the media that the 747-8I systems as well as the four General Electric GEnx-2B engines performed as expected, as the plane reached 6096 meters altitude and 463 km/h (250 knots) speed.

Test plane RC001 in “Sunrise Orange” livery will be one of the test aircraft that are scheduled to complete a 600 hour flight test program in the coming months. This first flight took the plane out North first, then West above the Western Washington state area, and returned it back after a large circle around the Seattle area.

Somewhat similar to the 787 Dreamliner situation, the 747-8 program has also faced some delays, but not as bad as the Dreamliner. The 747-8 family is a major redesign of the famous Jumbo Jet designed to compete with the Airbus A380, using the engine and cockpit technology, as well as the larger overhead compartments and the Sky Interior of the Dreamliner, but keeps some of the original features of the plane, including the partial double-deck design – extended even a little bit more than the previous longest double-deck version, the 747-400.

The 76.3 meter long 747-8 will be powered by new generation GEnx engines, but this is not the only change, as the aircraft will be 5.6 ms longer than the current Boeing 747-400 version (4.1 ms before the wing on both decks and 1.5 meters after the wing only on the lower deck). This additional length provides a few more seats onboard for the passenger version that can fly up to 14.800 kms. The new 747-8 will have a maximum take off weight of 442.250 kgs, but will still have a 12% less maintenance costs. It consumes about 17% less fuel, as on top of the new engines types, some parts of the fuselage will be replaced by lighter materials than in the current version. This also means 16% lower (CO2) emissions and a 30% decrease in noise levels from that of the 747-400.

The first 747-8I will be delivered to launch customer Lufthansa, with delivery scheduled for the end of 2011. Lufthansa has ordered 20 of the type so far with 386 seats (the maximum density could be 467). Boeing has sold a combined 33 747-8Is (besides the 20 to German Lufthansa: 5 to Korean Air and 8 for unidentified VIP customers). Most recently Air China has indicated that it would purchase 5 pieces of the longest ever passenger jet, but that order is yet to be confirmed and approved by the Chinese Government. Boeing also has sold 76 of the cargo version of the 747-8, the 747-8F (freighter).

You can find more photos about the first flight and the test aircraft on

by balint01

Boeing 747-8F First Flight

Less than 8 weeks after the successful first flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing’s other new airplane has taken to the skies for the first time as well: the Freighter version of the 747-8!

One day prior to the 41st anniversary of the first ever flight of the legendary Boeing 747-100 Jumbo Jet, the latest version completed its first test flight, spending more than 3 and a half hours in the air on February 8, 2010. According to Boeing 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein the 747-8 freighter “performed as expected and handled just like a 747-400.“Taking off at 12:40 pm from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, the plane took a route above Western Washington state, climbed to 17,000 feet and reached a top speed of 230 knots. It returned to the same airport and landed safely at 4:18 pm. The flight was delayed by nearly 3 hours due to bad weather.

Somewhat similar to the 787 Dreamliner situation, the 747-8 program has also faced some delays, but not as bad as the Dreamliner. The 747-8 family is a major redesign of the famous Jumbo Jet designed to compete with the Airbus A380, using the engine and cockpit technology of the Dreamliner, but keeps some of the original features of the plane, including the partial double-deck design – which is specifically ideal for Freight as it allows front access to the full cargo hold by opening up the nose below the cockpit.

The 747-8 will be powered by new generation GEnx engines, but this is not the only change, as the aircraft will be 5.6 ms longer than the current Boeing 747-400 freighter version. This additional length provides 16% more revenue cargo volume, meaning 7 additional hold pallets: 4 on the main-deck and three in the lower-hold. Besides taking more cargo, the new 747-8F will consume 17% less fuel, as on top of the new engines types, some parts of the fuselage will be replaced by lighter materials than in the current version. The wings are being fully redesigned as well as seen on this image:

Among the special guests of the first flight at Paine Field was Joe Sutter, the chief engineer of the original 747. “It’s amazing to me that this program has lasted 41 years,” he said on a Boeing webcast following the succesful landing. The fact that the plane is still being developed and adjusted for future upgrades “says the basic design was right then and it’s still right now.

The first 747-8F will be delivered for launch customer Cargolux, with delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2010. Cargolux has ordered 13 of the type so far and is one of nine customers that have ordered a combined 76 -8Fs. Boeing also has sold 32 of the passenger version of the 747-8, the 747-8I (intercontinental), 20 to German Lufthansa, 5 to Korean Air and 7 for unidentified VIP customers. The manufacturer said the first flight of the -8 Intercontinental, will occur later this year. The Freighter version will be undergoing approximately 1,600 hours of test flights – which will be accomplished by three test airplanes.

You can find more photos about the first flight and the test aircraft on

by balint01

Japan Airlines Retires Last Boeing 747 Classic Jumbo Jet

Japan Airlines has retired its fleet of the Boeing 747 Classic Jumbo Jets with the last scheduled international flight of the type: JO 073 flying from Honolulu, Hawaii to Tokyo Narita airport in Japan, landing on July 31st. (The last domestic flight by a Boeing 747-300 was scheduled to land just 5 minutes earlier, departing from Sapporo Chitose.)

The last JAL operated Classic Jumbo Jet was a Boeing 747-300, that still had to be operated by a 3-man flight crew (modern airliners fly with only 2 pilots). The plane was originally manufactured for JAL and received by the airline in 1983 – 26 years ago.

Japan Airlines Boeing 747-100

In the mid-1960s, unprecedented development in technology and the availability of large-thrust engines led to the creation of the giant 747, beginning with the 747-100, the first in the 747 Classics series which also includes the -200 and -300 models. JAL first took delivery of a 747-100 in 1970, and was the launch customer of the 747-100SR (Short Range) in 1973. One of the SR variants formerly operated by JAL is currently being used by NASA as the Shuttle Carrier. For its ever-expanding international network at the time, JAL owned the largest fleet of 747 Classics in 1984, and from 1987 through to 1989, it held the record number of 65 such aircraft – a figure that still stands as the most number of Classics owned by any one airline at a time.

Japan Airlines Boeing 747-200 - by Frank Schaefer on

Starting in 1983, Japan Airlines have also been using the Boeing 747-300 type, that had a longer upper deck that could seat more premium passengers. Decommissioning the Group’s remaining 6 747 Classics – of which the earliest was delivered in November 1983, attests to the Group’s steady progress towards downsizing its fleet and operating more fuel-efficient aircraft such as Boeing 777. The Boeing 747-300 was the only airplane in Japan Airlines’ fleet that carried all three liveries over the years. The last two -300s in the fleet have the registration numbers: JA812J and JA8166.

Japan Airlines Boeing 747-300 (used from 1983) - c by Dobel on

Special ceremonies were held today to bring the curtains down on a long-standing service by the Classic Jumbo Jets in grand fashion. The flight was draped in a giant Hawaiian lei before departure at Honolulu Airport, where an elaborate ceremony was conducted with a proclamation declaring July 30, 2009, as “JAPAN AIRLINES CLASSIC JUMBO JET DAY,” with local dignitaries in attendance.  Upon arrival in Tokyo (Narita), the aircraft was received at the gate by its designer – the “Father of the 747”, Mr. Joseph F. “Joe” Sutter, JAL staff as well as members of the media. Mr. Sutter who led the development of what would become the world’s first wide-body airliner and who is now a senior advisor to the Boeing Company also graced this special occasion with a talk about the birth of the 747.

To memorialize the role of the popular Classic’s in the history of JAL, a sell-out commemorative flight organized by JAL Tours flew fans of the Classic Jumbo Jet from Tokyo (Haneda) to Shimojishima on a round-trip day tour on July 5, 2009. A total of 449 enthusiasts, members of the media and staff had the rare opportunity to go down memory lane, when cabin attendants who wore the 8 different uniforms in the history of JAL welcomed them onboard and served them during the flight.

Over the 39 years of service by the Classic 747 fleet, among thousands of flights and probably lots of memories for millions of passengers as well as crew members, one of the scariest crosswind landings by the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet captured on video was also conducted by JAL in Hong Kong, as seen here on Youtube. Besides the Cargo version (also in old livery), a number of special liveries were also used over the years: Super Resort Express 1Super Resort Express 2Reso’cha 1, Reso’Cha 2, Glay Rock Band, and the special Cargo liveries and variants: Untitled Cargo LiveryShiny Cargo Livery, Super Logistics, Reversed Super Logistics and JA Super Logistics. As a bonus, here is a Zebra painting – which was painted on the livery by the reflection, creating a very nice effect.

And looking forward: Most of the 747-300s have been replaced by Boeing 777-300ER’s.

Japan Airlines Boeing 777-300ER (replacing the 747-300 Classic Jumbo Jet fleet) - c by Aldo Bidini on

by balint01

British Airways B747 with Special oneworld Livery

Following the special, oneworld liveries applied to some airplanes by Japan Airlines, LAN and Finnair, now the biggest European member of the alliance has also followed with a special livery on one of its 55 Jumbo Jets.


The Boeing 747-400, registration number: G-CIVP (also known as “The V.P.“) has been given a new paint-job, displaying large “member of oneworld” titles on the front part of its fuselage. The letters of the smaller “member of” text from a distance look like if they were additional windows on the top floor. The large letters in “oneworld” are painted between the two floors of the Jumbo, with the top of the “d” vritually ending smoothly in one of the top floor windows.

British Airways or oneworld is yet to publish any press coverage about the special livery, or whether if other planes would follow, but “The V.P.” has already been spotted at Heathrow two days ago.

The first pictures are available on

by balint01

The World’s First Jumbo Hostel

The world’s first jumbo hostel was opened on 15th January this year. The plane was completely renewed and refurbished by its owners. Originally it operated to and from Stockholm’s Arlanda international airport. Last time it landed there was in November 2002.


After a few years break the huge plane is back in business again, but this time it stays at the entrance of Arlanda Airport, where it operates as a hotel.  It is useful for both the airport and the passengers and besides that it just looks great!


Watch a video about the Boeing-747 hotel:

you can read more about the hostel at

By Szafi

Aircraft Winglets

Many of us who fly regularly have most probably seen a so-called winglet or wingtip device at the end of the wing of an airliner at least once. It is showing up more and more often on more and more types of aircraft, thus we felt it’s time to give an overview to our readers about these sometimes funny, sometimes cool and stylish looking aircraft parts.

Winglet on Virgin Atlantic A340-600 - c by Dan Valentine on

Winglet on Virgin Atlantic A340-600 - c by Dan Valentine on

History, Reason and Benefits

The initial theoretical concept goes back to times before even the Wright Brothers first took to the skies in 1905, but it was picked up and developed by Richard T. Whitcomb of NASA after the 1973 oil crisis – in order to reduce fuel consumption. The first tests were carried out in 1979/80 in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force. At almost the same time, but independent of any U.S. military organization, a private jet producer, LearJet exhibited a prototype in 1977: the LearJet 28 that featured the first winglets on a jet and a production aircraft. Flight tests made with and without winglets showed that the winglets increased range by about 6.5 percent and also improved directional stability for the LearJet- these two factors are the major reasons behind using this facility at any fixed wing aircraft ever since.

Airflow around the wingtip with or without a wingletA winglet is a (near) vertical extension of the wing tips. The upward angle of the winglet, its inward angle as well as its size and shape are critical for correct performance – this is why they can look quite different. Air rotating around the wing strikes the surface of the winglet that directs it in another direction – thus creating an extra force, basically converting otherwise wasted energy to thrust. This is a small contribution but can save a lot for an operator in an aircraft’s lifetime. Another potential benefit of winglets is that they reduce the strength of wingtip vortices, which trail behind the plane. When other aircraft pass through these vortices, the turbulent air can cause loss of control, possibly resulting in an accident.

Winglet Types

In general any wingtips that not end the wing simply horizontally are considered as some kind of a winglet. Even though in strictly technical terms Wingtip Fences are not real extensions of the wing, and Raked Wingtips do not have a vertical part, they are still widely considered as winglet variants.

WINGTIP FENCES are a special variant of winglets, that extend both upward and downward from the tip of the wing. Preferred by European plane-maker Airbus, it is featured on their full product range (except the A330/340 family and the future A350). The Airbus A300 was actually the first jet airliner to feature this kind of solution by default, but it was a very small version of the tool. Provided that most of the Airbus planes (including all A320 family jets) feature such wingtip fences, this may be the most seen and most produced winglet type. Even the new Airbus A380 double-decker features wingtip fences.

Airbus Winglets as seen from the outside

Airbus Winglets as seen from the outside

Airbus Winglets seen from onboard

Airbus Winglets as seen from onboard

BLENDED WINGLETS (the real “Winglets”) are the most popular winglet type, leveraged by Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier but also by Russian Tupolev and Iljushin. Blended winglets were first introduced on the McDonnel Douglas MD-11 aircraft in 1990 with launch customer Finnair (it also features a smaller winglet at the bottom side of the wing). In contrast to Airbus who applies the wingtip fences by default on most of their aircraft (and the winglets on the A330/340 family), blended winglets are considered by Boeing for example as an optional extra feature on their products, except for the Boeing 747-400. For some of the older Boeing jets (737 and 757) such blended winglets have been offered as an aftermarket retrofit, these are the newer, tall designs and do not connect to the tip of the wing with a sharp angle, but with a curve instead. These winglets are popular among airlines that fly these aircraft on medium/long haul routes as most of the real fuel savings materialize while cruising. Longer flights mean longer cruising, thus larger fuel savings. And they also server as marketing surface for airline logos or web addresses usually.

Just recently the Boeing 767-300ER has received 3.4 m high (!) winglets produced by Aviation Partners Inc. with American Airlines as the launch-customer with Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines following with orders of 5 and 8 aircrafts respectively. 141 shipsets have been pre-sold already as the forecasted fuel savings range around 4%-6% for medium/long-range flights. Airbus earlier tested similar blended winglets designed by Winglet Technology for the A320 series, but determined that their benefits did not warrant further development and they stayed with the wingtip fences instead. Aviation Partners Boeing claims that winglets on 737s and 757s have saved a collective 1.2 billion gal. of fuel since they were introduced and 11.5 million tonnes of CO2 while reducing those types’ noise footprint by 6.5%. It has sold winglets to 140 airlines and 95% of all 737NGs are fitted with them. It is working on four winglet concepts for the 777 and hopes to finalize a design for that aircraft type by December, 2008.

Blended Winglets on Several Aircraft Types

Blended Winglets on Several Aircraft Types

RAKED WINGTIPS are the most recent winglet variants (they are probably better classified as special wings, though), where the tip of the wing has a higher degree of sweep than the rest of the wing. They are widely referred to as winglets, but they are better described as integrated wingtip extensions as they are (horizontal) additions to the existing wing, rather than the previously described (near) vertical solutions. The stated purpose of this additional feature is to improve fuel economy, climb performance and to shorten takeoff field length. It does this in much the same way as “traditional” winglets do. In testing by Boeing and NASA, raked wingtips have been shown to reduce drag by as much as 5.5%, as opposed to improvements of 3.5% to 4.5% from conventional winglets. Airliners to use raked wingtips: Boeing 747-8, Boeing 767-400ER, Boeing 777(-200LR; -300ER; and freighter versions) plus the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350. The 747-8, the 787 and the A350 will have special, new kind of wings, which do not have a separate winglet, but have raked, and blended wingtips integrated – without a sharp angle between the wing and the winglet.

Raked Wingtips on the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350

Raked Wingtips on the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350

As you can see, wingtips/winglets have developed and changed very much over the last 30 years, but are becoming the standard, which is not proven better by anything else than the wing designs of future aircraft by the largest airplane-makers that feature a built-in winglet at the tip of their new, revolutionary wings.

(Most of the winglet pictures in the montage images taken from taken by several photographers.)

by balint01

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