Boeing has completed the power-on sequence in the first 747-8 Intercontinental passenger aircraft, a program milestone which enables the company to begin functional tests...

Boeing has completed the power-on sequence in the first 747-8 Intercontinental passenger aircraft, a program milestone which enables the company to begin functional tests on the aircraft during its assembly.

“This is a critical step in the assembly process for the new 747-8 Intercontinental,” says Elizabeth Lund, 747 deputy program manager, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The airplane’s systems are now live. This milestone is a reflection of the focus and hard work of our engineers, mechanics and suppliers.”


Power-on is a complex series of tasks that methodically energize and activate an aircraft’s systems. In this critical stage of the assembly process, the electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems are brought on line.

Mechanics connected the 747-8I to an external power cart to energize the flight-deck display and maintenance systems. The electricity coursing through the airplane’s 133 miles (214 km) of wire will be as high as 105 kilovoltampere (kVa).

The program also activated the airplane’s hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Pressurized to 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi), the hydraulics power the flight control surfaces, landing gear, brakes and steering systems. The 160 psi applied to the pneumatic system enables the airplane to operate the environmental control systems and the leading-edge flaps.

“We are very methodical in ensuring the integrity of the airplane’s systems,” says Todd Zarfos, vice president of 747 engineering, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This accomplishment is a key milestone in validating the design, installation and functionality of the electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems.”

With a fuselage 18 feet 4 inches longer than the 747-400 and an upper deck 5 feet longer than that of the 747-400, the 747-8I has 51 additional seats to accommodate 467 passengers in a typical three-class configuration, and it also offers 26 per cent more cargo volume

Boeing expects to complete assembly of the first 747-8 Intercontinental in the first quarter of 2011. The 747-8I is scheduled to enter service in late 2011 following the flight-test program.

The 747-8, which includes the 747-8 Intercontinental and the 747-8 Freighter, was launched in November 2005. Boeing has 109 orders for the 747-8 – 33 for the 747-8 Intercontinental and 76 for the 747-8 Freighter. The first 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled to be delivered in late 2011.

Boeing claims the new 747-8 Intercontinental offers the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger airplane, while providing enhanced environmental performance. Boasting a fuselage 18 feet 4 inches longer than the 747-400 and an upper deck 5 feet longer than that of the 747-400, the 747-8I has 51 additional seats to accommodate 467 passengers in a typical three-class configuration, and it also offers 26 per cent more cargo volume than the 747-400.