Home' Australian Aviation Magazine : April 2011 Contents 53
APRIL 2011 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
proximately US$640 million of the charge
"re ects higher estimated costs to produce
747-8 airplanes at both Boeing and supplier
facilities," it said. "As the program assembled
major components of initial 747-8 freight-
ers during the third quarter, it became clear
that late maturity of engineering designs has
caused greater than expected rework and
disruption in manufacturing. is is result-
ing in additional resources being applied on
e remaining $360 million "relates to
challenging market conditions and the
company's decision to maintain the 747-8
production rate at 1.5 airplanes per month
nearly two years longer than previously
planned, deferring an increase to 2 per
month. Higher allocation of xed expenses
and volume-based penalties to suppliers are
the main drivers of the additional costs." It
conceded that the 747-8 program is "in a
Loss or not, airlines were annoyed and
clamoured particularly for the freighter
which provides 16 per cent more revenue
cargo volume, translating to four addi-
tional main deck and three more lower
e 747-8F nally became airborne on
February 8 2010 from Paine Field in Ever-
ett, Washington. Among the dignitaries on
hand to observe the ight was Joe Sutter.
"It's amazing to me that this program has
lasted 41 years," he said on a Boeing we-
bcast following the landing. e longevity
"says the basic design was right then and
it's still right now."
Sutter noted that he always believed the
747 was an ideal cargo aircraft and was
con dent the freighter version of the -100
would be successful even if the passenger
version was not. He remembered that he
resisted entreaties by airlines to design the
ground breaking aircraft, in 1969 by far the
largest civil aircraft ever built, as a narrow
double-decker rather than a widebody.
"If we had gone with the double-decker,
neither the freighter nor the passenger ver-
sions would have lasted 41 years," he said.
However, more problems -- in the air and
on the ground -- were soon to surface.
During the ight tests, the 747-8F suf-
fered bu et issues with turbulence o the
landing gear doors interfering with the
inboard aps, and this was quickly resolved
by a design change to the outboard main
landing gear doors. en in April 2010
Boeing found a defect in longerons at the
top of the fuselage which, under certain
loads, was susceptible to cracking, but this
has also been recti ed.
Two other issues -- oscillation in the
inboard aileron, and a structural utter --
have xes in the works says Tinseth, but
they slowed ight testing and used up the
margin in Boeing's development schedule.
As a result, in August 2010, Boe-
ing removed VP and GM 747 program
Mo Yahyavi from his post -- after only
seven months at the helm -- as speculation
mounted that the 747-8F's rst delivery
would be delayed again.
VP and GM airplane programs Pat
Shanahan told employees in an internal
communication cited by e Seattle Times
that he would take over direct supervi-
sion of shepherding the 747-8F and 747-8
Intercontinental to EIS while Yahyavi took
on "a special assignment."
Boeing also appointed Elizabeth Lund to
the role of deputy program manager for the
747-8, reporting directly to Shanahan.
At the time, Albaugh hinted that deliv-
ery of the 747-8F may slip into 2011 owing
to the nagging problems a ecting the ight
test program, and late the next month the
third delay in the program was announced
with Boeing stating that that rst 747-8F
would not be delivered to launch customer
Cargolux until "mid-year 2011."
Boeing said that the latest delay "follows
a thorough assessment of the expected
cumulative impact of [ ight test] dis-
coveries, which include a low-frequency
vibration in certain ight conditions and an
underperforming aileron actuator. While
neither issue requires structural changes to
the airplane, they have led to disruptions to
certi cation testing, which the program was
unable to o set within the prior schedule."
In order to achieve the new delivery date,
Boeing committed to add a fth aircraft to
the test program.
"We understand the issues encountered
in ight test and are working through the
solutions," said Shanahan. "We recognise
our customers are eager to add the 747-8
Freighter to their eets, and we understand
and regret any impact this schedule change
may have on their plans to begin ser vice
with the airplane. With that said, the 747-8
Freighter is demonstrating the capabilities
our customers need to be successful and we
are con dent in the value it will bring them
upon certi cation and delivery next year."
In mid October Boeing completed the
" nal body join" of the rst 747-8I -- des-
tined for a VIP customer -- and for the rst
time the sheer size and stunning look of
the 747-8I was revealed. By the numbers
the 747-8I is 76.3m long, or 5.6m longer
than the 747-400, which gives the aircraft
51 more seats and 26 per cent more cargo
volume than the 747-400.
On February 3 the fth 747-8F partici-
pating in the ight test program made its
rst ight with a 3 hour and 30 minute
ight and is to be used for functionality
and reliability testing.
Ten days later Boeing rolled out the
747-8I in a eye-catching if not controver-
sial livery in front of 10,000 employees,
government o cials, customers, partners
and suppliers, under the theme 'Incredible,
Again'. at theme was in reference to ban-
ners that hung during the construction of
the rst 747-100 touting the team building
the jumbo as the 'Incredibles.'
At the rollout Lufthansa's Buchholz,
a former Airbus executive, said that "the
747-8 Intercontinental will be a great
complement to our eet, tting nicely into
the 400-seat category, improving our eet's
eco-e ciency even further. As launch cus-
tomer, we are looking for ward to welcom-
ing this new aircraft to our eet next year
as it adds to our ongoing eet modernisa-
tion and environmental e orts."
On the livery, Boeing explained it
this way: " e airplane unveiled today is
painted in a new Sunrise livery of red-
orange that only will appear on the rst
747-8 Intercontinental and is a signi cant
departure from Boeing's standard blue.
e new color palette honors many key
Boeing customers whose cultures recog-
nise these colors as symbols of prosperity
and good luck."
NEW ORDER Air China has become the third airline customer for the 747-8I, committing to buy five in a deal
announced at Asian Aerospace on March 8. (Boeing)
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