I Really Can't Quite Explain How Geeked Out This Makes Me


Boeing has just introduced the latest iteration of their flagship 747: the Boeing 747-8. I have a personal attachment to the big Boeing; as a child growing up overseas and moving seemingly every year, I practically grew up on 747s. Over the years, it’s aged and newer aircraft feature more amenities (the last update to the 47 was the -400 series, launched some 16 years ago), but it’s still an elegant, majestic bird.

From a business standpoint, it’s fairly obvious that it’s designed as an A380-killer; or at least, if not a killer, then enough of an upgrade to keep Airbus from completely dominating the market until an all-new replacement for the 47 can be fielded. And while there are a number of significant systems upgrades, the primary airframe changes seem to be limited to a slightly stretched fuselage and a new wing (not that a new wing for something that huge is a trivial matter).

I have to admit that while I’m usually not a big fan of marketing-driven naming decisions (e.g. the renaming of the MD-85 (which itself was an upgraded and shortened DC-9) as the 717 (which was doubly egregious because 717 was the designation for a never-produced version of the 707) or Apple’s decision to skip straight from iPhoto 2.0 to iPhoto 4.0, skipping 3.0 entirely), I love the designation of the new aircraft as the 747-8 (instead of -500, which would have been next in the series). While the designation was officially chosen to emphasize the commonalities that the new plane will have with the forthcoming 787, I like it because It harkens back to the legendary Dash-80, probably the single most influential jet aircraft ever built. I’m sure that when they reach service, they’ll be called “Dash-Eights” to distinguish them from their predecessors on the flight line.

The first Dash-Eights are scheduled to be delivered in the fall of 2009. I can’t wait.


Oy. Of course, I've always referred to the 717 and every MD-YY as a DC-9.

I've always wondered why it took McDonnell Douglas so long to switch from the DC-x designation to the MD-x designation.

Historical reasons, I guess...

Those swoopy curvy wings look crazy! I foresee manufacturing issues.

Hey Paul, did you see on flickr the pix of our League meeting at the Museum of Flight? Among the birds in the yard was The City of Everett, 747 number one, and we spent some time savoring her mildewed lines.

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