Boeing has repeatedly considered the idea of an extended 747 in the 90s of the last century. The first versions of the 747-500X and 600X, proposed in 1996 at the Farnborough Air Show, did not attract much attention for the prospect of further development. In 2000, Boeing proposed the 747X and 747X Stretch models in response to the Airbus A3XX (later known as the A380). Version 747X could have a wingspan of up to 69.8 m, with a capacity of 430 passengers and a transportation range of 16,100 km. The 747X Stretch was supposed to be extended to 80.2 m, which would allow it to carry up to 500 passengers at a distance of 14,400 km. However, these versions were not interested in the airline, although some of the ideas of the 747X were used for the 747-400ER.
After the 747X, Boeing did not stop trying to improve the 747. The 747-400XQLR (Quiet Long Range) was supposed to have an increased flight range (14,780 km), be more economical in fuel consumption, and with a lower noise level. This model also failed, but many of its features were used for the 747 Advanced.
In early 2004, Boeing announced preliminary plans for the 747 Advanced, which were eventually adopted. 747 Advanced took over many technologies from another Boeing 787 Dreamliner being developed. On November 14, 2005, the company announced that it would begin developing the 747 Advanced projects under the name Boeing 747-8.
747-8 is the first extended aircraft of the 747 series. Before it, only the shortened 747SP was subjected to a change in length. The 747-8 has a lot in common with Dreamliner, including the General Electric GEnx turbine, and it also uses an electrical remote control system. Boeing said the new aircraft will be more economical and more environmentally friendly than previous versions of the 747.
The 747-8 is primarily a competitor on long-haul routes with the Airbus A380, the currently operating full-length double-decker aircraft. Boeing claims that their new aircraft will be more than 10 percent lighter than the A380, and will also consume 11 percent less fuel per passenger than the flagship Airbus.
In February 2009, when only Lufthansa still showed interest in passenger aircraft, Boeing began to redefine the prospects of the 747-8 project. The corporation considered various options, including the cancellation of the passenger project.
On October 15, 2010, tests such as the Water Spray Test were passed, and the first photographs of the 747-8I were also presented.
747-8 is the successor to the Boeing 747, which is equipped with more advanced technologies and improved aerodynamics. Both versions of the aircraft are 5.6 meters longer than 747-400. The 747-8 is the longest passenger airliner in the world, surpassing the previous Airbus A340-600 champion by 95 cm. With a maximum take-off weight of 442 tons, the 747-8 is the heaviest aircraft created in the history of the United States.
Compared to the 747-400, the main technical changes are the wings, they are made almost from scratch. The bending of the wing and its structure contribute to lower fuel consumption, the wing has become stronger, and aerodynamics have improved. The new wing has single-slotted slats and double-slotted flaps.
The wingtip is similar to that used on the Boeing 777-200LR, 777-300ER and 787 and is different from the tip of the 747-400. It helps reduce turbulence and drag, thereby lowering fuel consumption. The electric control system, which was partially introduced into the aircraft, also helped to reduce weight.
The increased fuel supply compared to 747-400 eliminates the need to radically change the horizontal tail unit to accommodate additional space for fuel-saving costs. The 8-shaped keel will remain 19.35 m high. Some materials are made of carbon fiber, which slightly reduces the weight of the aircraft. However, structural changes in most cases are evolutionary rather than revolutionary concerning 747-400. The 747-8, like the Boeing 787, is powered by a General Electric GEnx engine. However, for the 747, the engine will be partially adapted to provide air intake for conventional aircraft systems and is made with a reduced diameter to fit under the wing of the 747.
The passenger version called the 747-8 Intercontinental, or just 747-8I, began to be built on November 14, 2005. The aircraft is capable of carrying up to 467 passengers in a 3-class configuration at distances of more than 15,000 km. In other configurations, the aircraft can carry another 51 passengers. The volume for freight pallets increased by 26% compared to 747-400. Despite the initial plans for a shorter passenger model, both types of aircraft ended up being the same length. The upper deck is longer than the Freighter deck. The new engine technology and aerodynamic modifications have increased the flight range. Boeing said the 747-8I will be quieter and 16% more economical than the 747-400.
In 747-8 there are some changes on the decks. The most notable are the curved staircase connecting the decks and the more spacious main entrance for passengers. The glove compartments for hand luggage are curved, the central “glove compartment line” looks like it is part of the fuselage and not attached as on the Boeing 777. Windows are the same size as the 777, and 8% larger than the 747-400. The LED lighting system is capable of changing colors, more reliable, and also reduces operating costs.
The space above the passenger compartment is used for air conditioning and power supply channels. Wiring and pipes are moved to the side to increase free space, as a result of which, this area will not have windows. This space can be used as a resting place for the crew, freeing up space on the main deck for additional passenger seats.
At the beginning of development, Boeing also announced the introduction of the lucrative SkyLoft program (seats for first-class passengers). The program will include separate SkySuits cabins with sliding doors or curtains, beds, armchairs, and entertainment or business equipment. There will also be a cheaper version of the SkyBunks cabin. It will be possible to go to the cabins using a separate ladder at the rear of the aircraft. Passengers who have paid for SkySuites will be in economy class during take-off and landing. However, in 2007, Boeing decided to leave the cabins for VIP versions only. For passenger versions, special seats will be on the upper deck.
The 747-8 Intercontinental is superior to its 747-400 in terms of:
- 12% operational efficiency
- 16% less fuel consumption
- 16% fewer carbon emissions per seat
- 30% less will create noise on the ground.
The first order for the 747-8 Intercontinental VIP version was made by an unspecified customer in May 2006. Many believe that this is the head of one of the Middle Eastern states. Lufthansa was the first airline to order the 747-8 Intercontinental on December 6, 2006. In December 2009, Korean Air placed an order.
In November 2007, specifications were announced; on May 8, 2010, the corporation began assembling the first 747-8I. Two 747-8Is will take part in flight tests (this is a plane for a VIP client and a Lufthansa plane). The first delivery of the 747-8I is planned for the fourth quarter of 2011. On February 13, 2011, Seattle officially rolled out the new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental wide-body passenger aircraft.
At the moment, the U.S. Air Force is looking for a replacement Air Force One aircraft Boeing VC-25 (two heavily modified Boeing 747-200). They are interested in both the 747-8 and the Boeing 787. On August 11, 2010, the South Korean government announced that it was considering acquiring the 747-8 as a presidential plane.
The first flight of the aircraft took place on March 20, 2011.
- Modification: Boeing 747-8I
- Wingspan, m: 68.45
- The length of the aircraft, m: 76.25
- The height of the aircraft, m: 19.35
- Weight kg: empty loaded aircraft 213200; maximum take-off 442000
- Engine type: 4 turbofan General Electric GEnx-2B67
- Rod, kN: 4 x 296
- Maximum speed, km / h: 988
- Cruising speed, km / h: 917
- Practical range, km: 15000
- Practical ceiling, m: 13000
- Crew: 2
- Payload: passengers is 467 (3 classes) or 524 (2 classes) or 581 (1 class).