AMERICAS: First Boeing 747-8 freighter takes shape

Boeing’s much anticipated revamped B747 freighter took a major step closer this week toward final assembly as mechanics at its Everett, Washington facility loaded the forward and aft fuselage sections to join with the wing and centre section of the freighter, RC501. “It is exciting to see this airplane taking shape,” said Mo Yahyavi, vice […]


Boeing’s much anticipated revamped B747 freighter took a major step closer this week toward final assembly as mechanics at its Everett, Washington facility loaded the forward and aft fuselage sections to join with the wing and centre section of the freighter, RC501.

“It is exciting to see this airplane taking shape,” said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 Program. “The 747-8 is the largest commercial jet airplane we have assembled. This final body join provides us the first real look at the size of the 747-8 Freighter.”

RC501 is expected to roll out of the factory by the end of September and to begin flight testing in the fourth quarter. Delivery to launch customer Cargolux is expected in the third quarter 2010.

The 747-8 Freighter is 76.3 metres long, which is 5.6 metres longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16 per cent more revenue cargo volume compared to its predecessor, which translates to four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets.

According to Boeing the new 747-8 will give cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any freighter airplane currently available, while providing enhanced environmental performance.