The new 747-8 is the latest derivative of the 747 family of airplanes and is being developed in both freighter (747-8F) and passenger (747-8I, for “Intercontinental”) versions. The 747-8 offers a number of operational improvements while preserving key commonalities with the 747-400.
The 747-8F is scheduled to enter service first, followed by the 747-8I in 2011. This article provides an overview of the key differences between the 747-8 and the 747-400.
The 747-8 is externally similar to the 747-400, but it has a higher gross weight, a longer fuselage, a new higher-aspect-ratio wing, and new higher-bypass-ratio engines (see fig. 1). The 747-8 also incorporates advanced alloys, updated systems, and improved aerodynamic efficiency for better cruise, takeoff, and landing performance.
Boeing designed the newest 747-8 model to have as much commonality as possible with the 747-400 while also incorporating advanced technology from the 787. For example, the 747-8 and 747-400 have the same type rating and ground-support equipment. Flight handling characteristics of the 747-8 are also very similar to the 747-400.
Engines optimized for the 747-8. The 747-8 is powered by General Electric high-bypass-ratio engines, such as those used on the 787 Dreamliner. The engines share a common core with the 787 and feature composite fan blades and a composite fan case; a low-emissions combustor; and a virtually maintenance-free fan module.