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747-8F production gets underway

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Wing panels and wing spars were loaded into assembly tooling in Everett, WA late last week, marking the official commencement of assembly for Boeing's next generation 747-8 freighter.

According to Boeing, 90% of the design of the 747-8F has been released for fabrication. The remaining 10% stems partly from the design of key sections of the fuselage, which according to senior a program source, is a central pacing item for the program.

Boeing adds, that the remaining 10% is not solely associated with one section of the aircraft.

In addition, Vought Aircraft Industries, a long time 747 program supplier, announced yesterday in its second quarter earnings call that it had shipped the first floor beams to Boeing for the aircraft.

Rollout of the 1420th 747 is expected to take place in February, nearly coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the first 747-100 flight in 1969.

The 747-8 family, which includes a passenger and freighter variant, is 18.4 feet longer than its 747-400 predecessor and is powered by four General Electric GEnx-2b67 engines.

Final assembly of the first 747 will take place in Building 40-22 in the Everett facility, where the first 747 RA001 was assembled in 1968.

Launch customer Cargolux is expected to take delivery of the first 747-8F in the third quarter of 2009, following flight testing and certification of the new freighter.

A total of 105 next generation 747s have been ordered. The freighter variant has garnered 78 orders and the passenger variant 27.  Lufthansa is currently the only airline customer to date with a firm order for 20. Seven BBJ 747-8s have been ordered by VIP customers.


Boeing_747-8F_Large.jpg
Image courtesy Boeing

UPDATE: Added additional comment from Boeing regarding the remaining design work.

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