Boeing mechanics have completed the installation of the new General Electric GEnx-2B engines on the first Boeing 747-8F in final assembly at Boeing’s factory at Paine Field, Everett, Washington, bringing the aircraft closer to its configuration for roll-out.
“We are another step closer to bringing the 747-8 Freighter to market,” says Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 program. “This production milestone is a reflection of the strong working together relationship among Boeing, GE Aviation, Middle River Aircraft Systems and Spirit AeroSystems.”
The GEnx-2B ― which to date is the only engine type offered with the 747-8F and the passenger version of the 747-8, the 747 8 Intercontinental (747-8I) ― continues its progress through its engine certification testing. It recently completed the first phase of flight testing on GE’s 747 flying testbed.
“The GEnx-2B engine has performed very well during more than 1,500 hours of ground certification tests and 100 hours of flight testing,” says Tom Brisken, general manager of GE Aviation’s GEnx program.
The GEnx-2B is based on the GEnx-1B engine launched with the 787 Dreamliner, which also is offered with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine. (Both the GEnx-1B and the Trent 1000 have been widely ordered by 787 customers.) The GEnx-2B engine has been designed for the 747-8 family and is rated at 66,500 pounds of take-off thrust.
Boeing says that, with the GEnx-2B engines, the 747-8 Freighter will be 17 per cent more fuel efficient than the 747-400 Freighter, resulting in an equivalent reduction in carbon emissions. It also will have a noise footprint that is 30 per cent smaller than its predecessor, making it a QC2-compliant airplane on both departure and arrival.
The 747-8 Freighter is expected to make its first flight in the fourth quarter of this year, with first delivery scheduled for the third quarter of 2010.
Boeing has secured 78 orders from leading cargo operators for the new 747-8 Freighter, which is the heaviest 747 variant ever built, with a designed maximum gross take-off weight of 975,000 lb (442,250 kg). When the 747-8F goes into service it will be the world’s longest commercial jet at 250 feet 2 inches (76.3 metres).
Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have placed firm orders for the 747-8F, which is designed to be capable of carrying cargo loads of 130 tons over a range of 4,390 nm (8,130 km).
The passenger version, the stretched-upper-deck 747-8I, has only been ordered by Lufthansa to date. It is designed to be capable of carrying a full three-class load of 467 passengers and their bags over a distance of 8,000 nm (14,815 km).
The building near Everett in which the 747-8F final assembly line is located, along with all of Boeing’s other existing widebody assembly lines, is the world’s largest building in terms of volume. Boeing has said it plans to open a second final assembly line for the widebody 787 because of the high production rates expected to be required for the high-selling but very delayed new jetliner.