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60 years flying in the Boeing 747

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The Boeing plant, Everett, Washington

September 29, 2009

Giving the 747 another 20 years of life.

Far from the publicity glare of Boeing's overdue 787 Dreamliner project, an updated version of its iconic 747 jumbo jet is quietly inching toward its own test flight.

The 747-8 Freighter is set for delivery in the third quarter of 2010, while the 747-8 Intercontinental, which is the passenger version, is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2011. Boeing has 105 orders for 747-8s on its books at list prices between USD$293 million and USD$308 million.

The 747 family has been in the air since 1969 and is Boeing's biggest and most recognizable commercial plane. The new model serves the 400- to 500-seat market between the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777-300.

In 40 years of 747 production, Boeing has built 1,419 of the planes, and about 800 are still flying. According to Boeing's Current Market Outlook, large planes like the 747 accounted for about 4.6 percent of all 18,800 in service in 2008.

With the life extended another 20 years making a total of 60 years, it's like saying back in the forties that we will be flying in Douglas DC-3s for the next 60 years. Think it might mean that we have gone as far as we can go.

DC-3s are still flying as well, and I don't mean just as collector/warbird planes, although often as Basler BT-67 with new turboprop engines. Which brings me to the question... Did the new 747 get new engines?

It's not as far as we can go... I mean, look at the A380's wing, or the 787. And then there's the blended wing designs for airliners... still much room for development. I just think that in the last couple of decades so much emphasize has been laid on digitalization and computer aided design, rather than structural/aerodynamic design,  that we are only just beginning to see visible changes to the airliner concept again.

Yes DC-3s are still flying and in fact the reason for that is that is they they are still the greatest aircraft ever built.

Technologically of course we haven't gone as far as we can go. My recent post about the failed Sonic Cruiser project which was showing the way into the future. Trouble is there is a much bigger hurdle to overcome to further progress in civil aviation and that is financial viability. The world has gone as far is it can go certainly for the foreseeable future. Virtually all airlines are struggling to keep their heads above water following the great financial crisis. Airlines want wide bodied planes full of tourists not sleek futuristic money losing dreams.


--- Quote from: Webmaster on October 07, 2009, 04:12:22 PM --- Did the new 747 get new engines?
--- End quote ---

Yes, the new 747-8 will get the same engines as the new 787 Dreamliner.
GE will supply the GEnx-2B67 engine for the airplanes, which is scheduled to enter service in 2010 for freighter operator Cargolux of Luxembourg.

As stated, based on the GEnx engine launched on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the engine designed for the 747-8 will be rated at 66,500 pounds of thrust.

The GEnx is the only jet engine being developed with both the front fan case and fan blades made of composite materials to provide greater engine durability and dramatic weight reduction. The engine also features a new-generation combustor for efficient fuel mixing before ignition, which significantly lowers NOx levels. The first full GEnx-2B67 engine went into test in 2007, with engine certification in late 2008.

Middle River Aircraft Systems will develop, certify and produce the thrust-reverser system for the 747-8. The company will become a new direct supplier to Boeing, supplying the thrust-reverser system directly to Boeing rather than through engine manufacturer GE.

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., will have design and build responsibilities for the engine struts and nacelles for the 747-8. Work will include the upper fairing, fan cowl support beam and strut box for the inboard and outboard struts. Spirit's work package for the nacelles includes the inlet assembly, which will incorporate a seamless, one-piece composite acoustic barrel for a 105-in. diameter fan, composite fan cowl doors, the primary exhaust with sound-dampening chevrons, and plug (or cone).

Thank you Aviator, that was very informative. They look awesome on the smaller 787!


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