Boeing 747-8: Big Bird Gets an Update

The original “Jumbo Jet”, Boeing’s familiar and iconic 747, is getting a makeover.

First announced in 2005, the 747-8 is the result of substantial advancements in aviation technology. This new Jumbo will be cleaner, quieter and more economical to operate than previous editions. It also gives Boeing a strategic response to competition from the newly operational Airbus A380.

Updates include a new wing design with reduced drag, increased lift and greater fuel capacity. New engines from General Electric, known as the GEnx 2B, will be substantially quieter and consume less fuel. Boeing even managed to put the new version on a diet, bringing it in about a ton lighter than the previous 747 version.

Pilots will enjoy a flight deck stocked with state-of-the-art avionics and navigation systems. The folks at Boeing say the new plane is somewhat of a flying computer, all in the name of efficiency and performance. Much of the technology is shared with the upcoming 787 Dreamliner.

Passengers will notice substantial changes as well, with Boeing’s new passenger compartment design theme and technologies in full effect. Curved and flowing surfaces, LED lighting, improved storage and a quieter environment are all evident, leading to an improved travel experience.

Currently in flight and systems testing, initial deliveries of the latest and greatest Jumbo Jet are expected late this year or early 2012, with initial orders going to Lufthansa and Korean Air.

Sure to be a first-rate way to cross the miles, we look forward to the new and improved “dash eight”…