View Full Version : First flight of 747-400ER

3rd Aug 2002, 03:53
Boeing made first flight of 747-400ER on July 31 with 910,000 lb MTOW (vs 875,000 lb for 747-400); two aircraft are to be used for flight test program that is expected to be completed in 4Q02 for first delivery to Qantas, which ordered six.

3rd Aug 2002, 07:01
According to local paper the ER version can carry 15000lbs more and can fly roughly 500nm farther.

I'm just curious, are the"small" increases in these already huge planes big enough to make a difference, so that operators would be inclined to switch to the new machines or for new buyers to pay 'more' (guessing) than the older versions?

Sopwith Pup
3rd Aug 2002, 07:49
Mattpilot it makes a difference for Qantas when you consider some of the routes they fly.
For instance LAX-MEL is 6880nms great circle distance, that extra 15000lbs is approx. another 70 passengers ($$$), or that extra 500nms gives them more flexibility on the route.

Flight Safety
3rd Aug 2002, 08:56
The 747-400ER freighter can fly 525 nm farther OR carry 22,000 lbs more freight than the standard -400F. Either can mean more income per flight, depending on whether you want to carry more freight, or make the planned flight distance without a fuel stop (which are costly). BTW, the 744F-ER can now carry 272,000 lbs. of freight, whoa!

I read recently that 15 744-ERs are on order, and about half of them are freighters.

Kalium Chloride
3rd Aug 2002, 09:48
If you read the Boeing press release on the -400ER first flight, it claims that it's the fastest commercial aircraft in the sky.

Now they might have taken it up to M0.92 during the test, but I still think that's a little short of M2.2 ;)

3rd Aug 2002, 09:53
For us Euros that's a MTOW of 412.776 tonnes! What is heavier?

3rd Aug 2002, 10:32
Here's the section that Kalium Chloride refers to...

"With a maximum takeoff weight of 910,000 pounds (412,770 kilograms), the 747-400ER is now the largest and fastest commercial airplane in the sky - cruising at Mach 0.85, or 85 percent of the speed of sound."


The full press release is here (http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2002/q3/nr_020731g.html). There's a contact email at the bottom if anyone fancies explaining the meaning of fast to the author.

3rd Aug 2002, 11:20
On delivery this will be the largest and most up to date commercial transport aircraft, with a possible service life in excess of twenty five years. Given the current and forecast state of the market it will be big enough and flexible enough to meet all the requirements for mass travel over the next two decades yet its developments costs will, by comparison to anything else able to equal it's range and payload, be minimal.

Little wonder that Boeing threw away the idea of a Giant Jumbo when they did and settled on commericially acceptable derivatives of the tried and trusted B747.

3rd Aug 2002, 11:27
Curiously this new plane is cheaper than a 777-300 ER...

3rd Aug 2002, 12:06
I hope they havent started glueing them together like those Hyundi's of the sky Scarebus's

The maddest cat
3rd Aug 2002, 13:12
"I hope they havent started glueing them together like those Hyundi's of the sky Scarebus's"

Nice one! Let's hope it's stronger and better made than the 747s used by TWA, China Airlines and JAL.

Or the USAir, United or Silk Air 737s.

Or the Swissair MD11, or the Lauda and Egyptair 767s.

Or the famous DC10s!

But of course the Scarebus's are government subsidised.
Not like good old Boeing. Apart from the recent 100 767 USAF tanker order, and that Saudia and EL AL have all Boeing fleets for some reason, and the pressure on Korea's EVA for their next order after Uncle Sam's recent military assistance!

3rd Aug 2002, 14:29
Hey Cat......
I agree with you.......Airbus bashers, they don't know what they are talking about, just angry old men who can't deal with the advanced technology and just afraid of change.
By the way Saudia's fleet is not all Boeing. Just a footnote.

Burger Thing
3rd Aug 2002, 15:37
Maddest Cat... Let's wait and see and have a discussion in couple of years, when those Atari-planes are cheap and available second or third handed and flown by third world operators like todays Boeing. The older generation of composite Airbusses are starting to disintegrate in flight already. ;)

3rd Aug 2002, 23:56
Hey BlueEagle your said "On delivery this will be the largest and most up to date commercial transport aircraft, with a possible service life in excess of twenty five years."

The problem might be that the market will surely look at the A380F arriving in a few years and carrying a 150 ton payload or thereabouts with what was from memory last reported to be something like a 15% saving in cost per ton per mile over the current 747-400F and both aircraft will have to be amortized over a very long time.

Now I imagine Boeing would have made some incremental improvements in operating costs with this latest derivative but the quantum leap effect of the A380 and its costs is not really being dealt with it seems. Correct me if I am wrong but I thought this sort of quantum leap cost advantage as the A380 has over the venerable 744 is what Boeing did to Douglas and their DC10's.

For my mind it begs the question of how does an operator of the new 747-400ER amortize its cost over its operational life in their fleet (say 18 years plus for example) when the A380 is also coming on stream in a few years and will be effectively operating side by side with the 747-400ER's for the majority of both aircraft's service life - the difference being the A380 will be operating at a significantly less cost per ton of payload per mile.

In other words the operator of the 747-400ER would be competing against someone operating a lower cost to operate (per ton per mile) product in the A380. Particularly in the Freighter where cost is perhaps even more an issue than in pax service - at least with pax you might have the possibility to "wow them with service" or more comfortable seats or something but with Freight....... it basically comes down to costs most times.

I am a fan of Boeing aircraft. I wish they would get their collective corporate management heads out from where the sun don't shine and get serious about building some really competitive ground breaking large long haul aircraft. I think the approach they have been taking is far more risky for them and the future of their products and their marketshare than using the available technologies to build the stuff they are really capable of building.

4th Aug 2002, 02:27
Well Wizard, one area of disagreement is that I don't believe there is a market for the A380, with all the attendant problems of terminal space, gates and modifications to taxiways and parking areas etc. Many B747 operators are moving down to the smaller B777 as their workhorse and don't feel anything bigger is now required, certainly not as their primary fleet anyway.

I don't think the claimed lower operating costs of the A380 will outweigh the additional expense of operating an outsize aircraft that very few airports worldwide are currently making any effort to accommodate.

If I am completely wrong and there is a market for the A380 or an aircraft of that size, how many such aircraft will the manufacturer need to sell just to break even? Something in the order of several hundreds I think, far more than have currently been ordered. Yes, there have been some firm orders for the A380 but, as I mentioned, major airlines are tending to move down rather than up in size for their backbone longhaul fleet.

Yes possibly a small freighter market but, again, for how many airframes?

Interesting times, we shall see!:)

Flight Safety
4th Aug 2002, 02:54
About 225 747 freighters operate around the world, and those numbers (as a market) took nearly 30 years to develop.

Currently (I just checked) there are 17 -400ERs on order, 6 -400ERs for Quantas, and 11 -400ERFs for various customers. Looks like the real interest is in the freighter model rather than the passenger model, but given the current post 9-11 environment, that's understandable.

(edited for a typo)

Kalium Chloride
4th Aug 2002, 10:14
"Build it and they will come..."

4th Aug 2002, 15:16
......said the CEO and filed for Chapter 11... (sorry, but just could not resist) :)

5th Aug 2002, 11:42
Saw 747 ship 1308 (the first 744ER) at Everett in early-June going final checking a couple of days before it was rolled over to the paint shop. The new ER freighter was right behind it on the line.

Re fbw vs. strings - I knocked my Palm Pilot off my desk onto the carpet recently. Now it's fcuked and I've lost over 300 contacts (no, I don't have a PC at home & work wouldn't let me hot-sync), so now I'm going back to pen-&-paper because short of putting it through the wash, it WORKS in all weathers & under most conditions. Can't say the same about the high-tech bit of kit no more.

On another note, any correlation between recent airline bankruptcies and the majority of their fleets...???

7th Aug 2002, 20:50
well blue eagle they did say that in the 60's when the 747 was planned and put into service, build it and maybe they will use it, time will tell

8th Aug 2002, 01:47
digi2 - The major difference being the B747 is an American aircraft, widely bought by USA carriers and the A380 isn't!;)

That said, many USA airports, JFK comes to mind, never did much to their taxiways etc. to accommodate the B747 either!

11th Aug 2002, 15:02
There might well be some competition for the Boeing 747-400ERF from the proposed 747-400 pax to freighter conversion by Cargo Conversions LLC due in around two years. They are using the same door and most of the same engineering as for the 747-200 pax to freighter conversion and are not going to be removing the upper deck beams after discussions with operators. With the recent reduction in values of the earliest 747-400's I imagine this is becoming more viable every day.