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Boeing 747-800 Intercontinental

Updated on February 5, 2012

Boeing 747-800 Maiden Flight

Boeing’s 747-8

The first of the new 747-8’s have now been delivered. After a development phase which lasted nearly six years, and after facing a number of delays and difficulties, the largest commercial aircraft made in the United States is in the air. It furthers the intense competition with Airbus for the long-haul wide body jets, and while the 747-8 is the longest passenger airplane in history, the A380 is still the winner of the “biggest passenger plane” competition. The 747-8 is offered in two configurations, the first, the 747-8I, for “Intercontinental,” is the passenger jet, and the 747-8F, for “Freighter” is the cargo plane.

Boeing 747-8 Cabin Interior

The Extended 747 Family

The first 747 revolutionized the air travel business in 1969. The 747 family has been extended over the years, with a new series developed and put into service every five years or so. And the 747 is growing ever larger. The first 747 measured 232 feet in length, while the 747-8 is 250 feet long. The newest model preserves many familiar features of the family, making significant advances with some, and has added a suite of entirely new features. The double decker seating is preserved and extended an additional 13 feet. The wings have been redesigned and now slope upward, giving the plane a new look. There have been significant improvements in efficiency and performance. The new plane carries more passengers and more cargo, has increased range and reduced emissions, noise, and fuel consumption. The passenger experience has been significantly improved, with advanced communications and entertainment amenities, larger windows and bins, sculptural ceilings and seats and a grand, curved staircase. The plane can also be configured with Sky Lofts, essentially private suites with full size twin beds.

Boeing 747-8 Extreme Testing

The 747-800 Cost

The plane carries an approximately 270 million dollar price tag. As of December, 2011 Boeing has reported firm orders totaling 106, 36 for the 747-8I and 70 for the 747-8F, of which 9 of the 747-8F’s have been delivered. The biggest customer for the passenger configuration is Lufthansa, with an order for 20. All together, the retail cost of these orders is, by a very rough approximation, 30 billion. Business has been good for the 747-8F, buoyed by larger cargo capacity and a longer range. Boeing has also gone out of its way to make it very easy for pilots to cross train between different planes in the family, increasing the versatility of their pilot pool, as well as providing a large proportion of interchangeable parts, thereby reducing parts inventory.

Boeing 747-8 Flight Deck

The Flight Deck

Significant advances have been made on the flight deck with advanced computer systems, including advanced avionics and navigation systems. One of the principal goals has been to ease communication among the flight crews and between the flight crews and dispatchers and air traffic management. The crews are required to handle significantly fewer pieces of paper, and all cathode ray tubes have been replaced with liquid crystal displays. The electronic checklist and the Airport Moving Map are among the flight deck advances specifically targeted at increasing safety.

Additional 747 Configurations

In addition to the cargo plane and the standard passenger jet configuration, Boeing is taking orders for the 747-8 VIP, sold as a personal aircraft and fitted with “incomparable luxury.” The identity of 747-8 VIP customers are, unsurprisingly, kept confidential. The US Air Force is also considering using a heavily modified 747-8I as the new Air Force One.

Boeing has high hopes for their new plane, and it looks to be a very solid new member of the groundbreaking and phenomenally successful 747 family.

Boeing 747-800 Specifications

Cockpit crew
Overall length
250 ft 2 in (76.25 m)
250 ft 2 in (76.25 m)
224 ft 7 in (68.45 m)
224 ft 7 in (68.45 m)
Cabin width
20.1 ft (6.1 m)
20.1 ft (6.1 m)
Maximum take-off weight
975,000 lb (442,000 kg)
975,000 lb (442,000 kg)
Maximum landing weight
682,000 lb (309,000 kg)
757,000 lb (343,000 kg)
Maximum zero fuel weight
642,000 lb (291,000 kg)
717,000 lb (325,000 kg)
Maximum structural payload
171,900 lb (78,000 kg)
295,800 lb (134,200 kg)
Maximum fuel capacity
60,755 US gallons (229,980 l)
60,755 US gallons (229,980 l)
Cruising speed at 35,000 feet
Mach 0.855 (570 mph, 495 kn, 917 km/h)
Mach 0.845 (564 mph, 490 kn, 908 km/h)
Maximum speed at 35,000 ft
Mach 0.92 (614 mph, 533 kn, 988 km/h)
Mach 0.92 (614 mph, 533 kn, 988 km/h)
(at MTOW) 7,600 nmi (14,100 km) with 467 passengers and baggage
(full load) 4,475 nmi (8,288 km) with 295,800 lb (134,000 kg) payload
Cargo capacity
5,705 cu ft (161.5 m3)
30,177 cu ft (854.5 m3)
Service ceiling
43,000 ft (13,000 m)
43,000 ft (13,000 m)
Engines (4x)
Thrust (4x)
66,500 lbf (296 kN)
66,500 lbf (296 kN)


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    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 4 years ago from Olney

      Thanks for dropping by bdegiulio...:)

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great job. Would love to fly in one some day. A ride in the new 787 Dreamliner would be nice also.

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 4 years ago from Olney

      Glad you liked it. Thanks for dropping by.

    • safiq ali patel profile image

      safiq ali patel 4 years ago from United States Of America

      A interesting topic for a hub.

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 5 years ago from Olney

      Me too..I'd love to fly it...much more exciting than my Cessna.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 5 years ago from London, UK

      Good to know. I like the new features, particulary the advanced technology. I just need to test ride it.