PDA

View Full Version : 747: The final chapter begins



Glom
2010-Feb-08, 10:01 AM
The first flight of the Boeing 747-8 is scheduled for today. This will be the last generation of the legendary aircraft. The A380 has chipped away at the upper fringes of its market while Boeing's own 777 has chipped away at the lower side. The 747-8 seems to be destined to mostly serve the freight market more than the passenger market.

The aircraft has a modified wing, modified and quieter flaps, a stretched fuselage, new GEnx engines and some avionics improvements.

The first flight will be webcast on Boeing's special website (http://747-8firstflight.com/). Estimated time is 10:00 PST, 18:00 UTC.

Trebuchet
2010-Feb-08, 08:45 PM
Just watched the first flight takeoff on TV. I couldn't be there in person because I'm on leave of absence from work in Tacoma due to my mother's death and my wife being ill at the same time.

This one means a lot more to me than the 787 because I put a lot of work into it. Nice to see it in the air. I even know the pilot personally!

By the way, I like this paint job (mostly white) much better than the elaborate 787 paint. Of course, esthetics had nothing to with why it's painted that way -- it turned out that 787 scheme takes more than a week and costs a small fortune to apply!

Larry Jacks
2010-Feb-08, 09:50 PM
The website spent a lot of time describing how the 747-8 can carry 51 more passengers than the 747-400, so Boeing certainly hopes to sell passenger versions. It just sounds like the early orders are for the freighter versions.

Last December, my wife and I rode 747-400 to and from New Zealand. Those were long flights but quite pleasant. Air New Zealand treated us right.

Glom
2010-Feb-08, 10:30 PM
Of course Boeing want to sell pax versions. It's just that the model has been a bit of an A340-300 (slow on climb-out). The freighter on the other hand has done pretty okay so far.

RAF_Blackace
2010-Feb-08, 10:38 PM
I very much doubt that the 747 is on its last legs. The A380 may have taken some of its market, but the problem with the A380 is that you need to build a completely new stand to accommodate one. A new stand has been built for them at terminal 4 Heathrow and the cost has been of the order of 10's of millions. I very much doubt all but the large hubs will be going to that trouble. So the 747 will for the foreseeable future be the workhorse of the fleet where the 777 is not suitable. Long haul to anything but a hub.

Glom
2010-Feb-08, 10:50 PM
I very much doubt that the 747 is on its last legs. The A380 may have taken some of its market, but the problem with the A380 is that you need to build a completely new stand to accommodate one. A new stand has been built for them at terminal 4 Heathrow and the cost has been of the order of 10's of millions. I very much doubt all but the large hubs will be going to that trouble. So the 747 will for the foreseeable future be the workhorse of the fleet where the 777 is not suitable. Long haul to anything but a hub.

I respectfully disagree. Long haul routes not carrying pax by the barrel load will, and indeed are, handled by smaller more flexible aircraft like the A330, 787, A350. For larger loads, the 777 provides most of what is needed. The 747 is now falling between two stools. It is less likely to be operated on routes where the infrastructure can't handle the Whale. And remember that a large portion of the 747's historic success came from it's range not it's size.

RAF_Blackace
2010-Feb-08, 11:29 PM
I respectfully disagree. Long haul routes not carrying pax by the barrel load will, and indeed are, handled by smaller more flexible aircraft like the A330, 787, A350. For larger loads, the 777 provides most of what is needed. The 747 is now falling between two stools. It is less likely to be operated on routes where the infrastructure can't handle the Whale. And remember that a large portion of the 747's historic success came from it's range not it's size.

Yes, but the competition from those aircraft has been around for many years and we still have 747's taking a fair share of the market. The only recent threat is from the A380, and that requires huge infrastructure costs to accommodate. I can see your point, no doubt the market will at some point see no benefit from the 747. New aircraft may not be bought, but the old ones will still be in service for the next 20 years. I still cannot see the immediate demise of the 747.

Trebuchet
2010-Feb-09, 01:40 AM
The 747 was the first airplane I actually worked on so I'm pretty partial to it! It spent many years as Boeing's "Cash Cow", a position which is now shared by the 737 and 777. I don't think anyone in management expects it to return to high production rates, but it will continue to sell in a niche market. It still has the large freighter market all to itself, although it also competes with itself in the form of converted 747-400's.

I've seen it suggested that one reason for the launch of the -8 was to siphon off sales from the A380, thus making it impossible for Airbus to recoup its (and its supporting governments') investment. It certainly seems to have succeeded in killing off the A380 freighter. Sales of the 747-8 passenger version have been extremely slow, with the second customer, KAL, signing on only a few weeks ago. Of course, there are also half a dozen VIP customers. Who on earth buys 747's as executive jets?

Jens
2010-Feb-09, 04:28 AM
Who on earth buys 747's as executive jets?

I think in a lot of cases it's members of royalty from various countries, so it's a bit unclear whether they are really public or private. The Kind of Saudi Arabia, the Sultan of Brunei, and the Sheikh of Dubai all own 747s.

Atraveller
2010-Feb-09, 05:10 AM
I've seen it suggested that one reason for the launch of the -8 was to siphon off sales from the A380, thus making it impossible for Airbus to recoup its (and its supporting governments') investment. It certainly seems to have succeeded in killing off the A380 freighter. Sales of the 747-8 passenger version have been extremely slow, with the second customer, KAL, signing on only a few weeks ago.

The air schedule from Hong Kong to Heathrow has 6 747's taking off all just a few minutes before 11pm - all of them reach Heathrow just after curfew is lifted first thing in the morning. There aren't too many air routes like that, but that kind of traffic is one reason the 747 will be around for a while, and why there is still room for the A380.

Glom
2010-Feb-09, 08:19 AM
Of course, there are also half a dozen VIP customers. Who on earth buys 747's as executive jets?

The Air Force possibly? They are seeking a replacement for the VC-25. I wouldn't be surprised if they were keeping mum about it for the moment.

mahesh
2010-Feb-09, 11:13 AM
Excuse the cliché-ed comment Glom, about your OP link...That was really nice!
Thank you.

Jens-san....doesn't John Travolta also have a SevenFourSeven?
I thought he does. He's qualified to fly one!

sarongsong
2010-Feb-09, 11:25 AM
...John Travolta is also a licensed pilot who owns his own 707 jet...
suite101.com (http://www.suite101.com/blog/johncrandall/john_travoltas_private_jet)
October 17, 2006
...“There are around 39 Boeing 747’s with interiors configured for V.I.P. use in the world, and many 757’s and 767’s, an MD-11, and two 777’s,” said Aaga Duenhaupt, a manager for Lufthansa Technik...A 747 purchased “green,” that is, with basically a bare interior, costs about $180 million...you can spend up to $50 million more on the interior.” Some private 747’s are even equipped with medical emergency rooms...
NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/business/17megajets.html)...and this was then! :)

Trebuchet
2010-Feb-10, 03:38 AM
Of course I did know who gets VIP 747's, don't know why I made the comment. Perhaps it should have been "who needs one?" I just wish I could be at work so I could get the inside scoop on any problems! Which, of course, I couldn't share here anyhow!

mugaliens
2010-Feb-10, 09:48 AM
As for range, there's a lot of overlap between the 747 and the 777 on the various models, but the 777-200LR takes the lead around 9,800 miles, while the 747's best range is about 8,000 miles.

Meanwhile, the B-52's range was over 10,000 miles, unrefueled. Of course, our cargo capacity was a little cramped... ;)

Delvo
2010-Feb-10, 02:05 PM
the problem with the A380 is that you need to build a completely new stand to accommodate one.What is a "stand"?

Glom
2010-Feb-10, 02:09 PM
What is a "stand"?

The square where the aircraft parks. Stands are given codes based on their capability to handle different sized aircraft. Code F stands are the ones for the A380. They not only have the requisite size to accomodate wing span and length, but also wheel track apparently.

RAF_Blackace
2010-Feb-10, 08:35 PM
The square where the aircraft parks. Stands are given codes based on their capability to handle different sized aircraft. Code F stands are the ones for the A380. They not only have the requisite size to accomodate wing span and length, but also wheel track apparently.

And twin boarding bridges for the two decks as can be seen in this photo.

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/flight-international/SQ380.JPG

cjl
2010-Feb-10, 11:57 PM
That's not required though. You can board it all via a single level, but if you try to board the entire thing through one bridge, then it would take a very long time.

Atraveller
2010-Feb-11, 05:40 AM
Of course I did know who gets VIP 747's, don't know why I made the comment. Perhaps it should have been "who needs one?" I just wish I could be at work so I could get the inside scoop on any problems! Which, of course, I couldn't share here anyhow!

Just saw a few pictures of the flight:

748 (http://www.aviationbusiness.com.au/F28DF3F0-15FE-11DF-A9E0005056B05D57)

It looks like they have really reduced the size of the upper deck. Did they strech it to accomodate more passengers/freight? Are they using a lot of composites to reduce weight?

Do they still load the freight version through the nose? And still have to use a tail strut when loading so it doesn't fall backwards?

cjl
2010-Feb-11, 05:43 AM
The upper deck is small because this is a freighter version. The passenger version is supposed to have the longest upper level of any 747 yet. Here's a rendering of the 747-8i (passenger version): http://www.flug-revue.rotor.com/frheft/FRHeft07/FRH0702/FR0702g1.JPG

Atraveller
2010-Feb-11, 06:09 AM
The upper deck is small because this is a freighter version. The passenger version is supposed to have the longest upper level of any 747 yet. Here's a rendering of the 747-8i (passenger version): http://www.flug-revue.rotor.com/frheft/FRHeft07/FRH0702/FR0702g1.JPG

Thanks Cil,

I was wondering what they had done - almost looks like an A380 in that rendering...

Glom
2010-Feb-11, 07:35 AM
That's not required though. You can board it all via a single level, but if you try to board the entire thing through one bridge, then it would take a very long time.

A stand doesn't have to be pier served either. It can be a remote stand, where you bus passengers to the aircraft. For such a beast, that would mean a lot of buses.

mugaliens
2010-Feb-11, 01:06 PM
Less than ten, as most airport buses hold about 50 people.

Twice flying through Paris I was bused to a 767 or 777. Once in Tokyo, as well.

Larry Jacks
2010-Feb-11, 02:46 PM
If the A-380 is carrying a full load of 550 people, that comes to 11 buses. That would take a long time to board everyone, especially factoring in climbing the stairs with carry on luggage, handling the handicapped passengers, etc.

I finally got to see an A-380 at Syndey's airport last December. Big sucker. Even though I saw it at a distance with nothing parked nearby to give a sense of scale, it was easy to tell that it was huge. I've heard it's a very good ride on long trips.

NEOWatcher
2010-Feb-11, 02:57 PM
If the A-380 is carrying a full load of 550 people, that comes to 11 buses.
Ok; so take his "about 50" and call it 55. ;)
Not hard to do with the articulated ones.


That would take a long time to board everyone, especially factoring in climbing the stairs with carry on luggage, handling the handicapped passengers, etc.
I was thinking more along the lines of these (http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/pix/trucks/andy_bruchey/2005/jun16/airport-shuttle-bus-washington.jpg).
And; mate them up to multiple doors, and you may even speed up the loading of the plane.

Larry Jacks
2010-Feb-11, 04:44 PM
I've used those buses a few times. They're pretty slow. While they may be able to lift themselves high enough to reach an A-380's lower door (and I'm not even sure of that), I doubt any of the ones currently in use could rise high enough to reach the upper level boarding doors. That would require everyone seated in the upper level to climb the internal stairs with their carry on luggage. All it would take are a few handicapped passengers or those traveling with small children to slow down the boarding process.

NEOWatcher
2010-Feb-11, 05:53 PM
I doubt any of the ones currently in use could rise high enough to reach the upper level boarding doors.
Of course the ones that are in use were designed for technologies in use. That doesn't eliminate the ability for new ones with different capabilities.

But; at that point, it would probably be cheaper to redesign a gate.

Larry Jacks
2010-Feb-11, 06:13 PM
Those upper level boarding doors on an A-380 are pretty high off of the ground. It might get "interesting" to try and use elevated buses for those doors especially on windy days. I suspect it would be a challenge to build a good, stable design. Redesigning a gate sounds like a better idea if for no other reason than legal liability. I've seen dual boarding gates used on planes like the 777 in some airports. It certainly isn't a new idea.

RAF_Blackace
2010-Feb-11, 08:12 PM
I finally got to see an A-380 at Syndey's airport last December. Big sucker. Even though I saw it at a distance with nothing parked nearby to give a sense of scale, it was easy to tell that it was huge. I've heard it's a very good ride on long trips.

First time I saw one was from the stand looking up and stood next to the nose-wheel. I can tell you no passenger is going to want to board by bus. You would get a nosebleed it's that far off the ground.

Besides, the amount of traffic it takes to service these birds, buses would not be welcome by ground staff either.

mugaliens
2010-Feb-11, 09:18 PM
I think a better approach is to use two, same-level gates, using the aft gate for those seated towards the left, and the forward gate for those seated towards the right.

Twice I've boarded jumbos this way and it filled up pretty quickly.

Atraveller
2010-Feb-12, 02:14 AM
Ok; so take his "about 50" and call it 55. ;)
Not hard to do with the articulated ones.


I was thinking more along the lines of these (http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/pix/trucks/andy_bruchey/2005/jun16/airport-shuttle-bus-washington.jpg).
And; mate them up to multiple doors, and you may even speed up the loading of the plane.

So those are the standard buses at national airport in DC aren't they? (wonder how they drive in snow...:p) Used those a few times...

But if you remember the old Hong kong airport (wasn't that always a thrill to fly into? Only had to pluck the laundry off the wing tips after landing...) Hong Kong used to use these huge articulated buses. They would take over 100 people each - they would load them at the terminal - with three streams - 1st and business, front ecconomy, and rear ecconomy - they would drive up to three stairways at the plane - disabled or special needs were lifted to the starbord side with scissors.

Loading was faster then, than now with the two jetways to the front and back of a 747. Don't know how they are doing the A380.

Jens
2010-Feb-12, 02:19 AM
disabled or special needs were lifted to the starbord side with scissors.


With scissors?

Atraveller
2010-Feb-12, 02:28 AM
With scissors?

Scissor Trucks - slang term for those trucks that have the folding mechanism under them...

mugaliens
2010-Feb-12, 09:11 AM
With scissors?

Apparently, they beat thimbles. :rolleyes:

Personally, a good thimble in the hands of the right person...

RAF_Blackace
2010-Feb-12, 10:45 PM
Scissor Trucks - slang term for those trucks that have the folding mechanism under them...

Cherry Pickers.

Kadava
2010-Feb-13, 12:59 AM
Cherry Pickers.

That's something slightly different. (At least here.) Cherry pickers are more like what the fire brigade use. Scissor lift only go straight up and down.

RAF_Blackace
2010-Feb-13, 02:53 AM
That's something slightly different. (At least here.) Cherry pickers are more like what the fire brigade use. Scissor lift only go straight up and down.

For airport staff in the UK they are cherry pickers. A difference between terminology across waters.

There is also a difference between what we call the truck that pushes the aircraft back from the stand. In the US I think you call it a "tug", in the UK we call it a "push back truck".

From the same perspective you refer to yourself as "A Passenger". We refer to you as "Self Loading Freight" or PAX. :)

Kadava
2010-Feb-13, 05:55 AM
For airport staff in the UK they are cherry pickers. A difference between terminology across waters.

Fair enough.


There is also a difference between what we call the truck that pushes the aircraft back from the stand. In the US I think you call it a "tug", in the UK we call it a "push back truck".

I'm not in the US, and wouldn't call it a tug either.


From the same perspective you refer to yourself as "A Passenger". We refer to you as "Self Loading Freight" or PAX. :)

:)