EVERETT -- After forecasts called for a wet and rainy Sunday here in the Pacific Northwest, meteorological prognosticators could not have been more wrong. It's a mostly sunny morning here at Paine Field and an absolutely beautiful day to unveil the 747-8I. The only problem is the entire ceremony - which begins at 11 AM PT - will be held entirely indoors at the 40-24 building.
Either way, word on the street points to a daylight debut sometime around 4pm when the aircraft returns to the flight line for its final preparations for first flight, which will come roughly six weeks from now in early spring. There's a ton going on here today and stories will be coming through as fast as my fingers are able to type them (and time allows).
Pictured above is RC001, the first 747-8I and RC021, the second, which will are expected to accumulate the bulk of the 600h+ in the flight test campaign that will see the new jumbo certified in the fall.
When it enters airline service in early 2012, Lufthansa will feature three-class seating for 386 aboard. The aircraft will also have a yet-undisclosed new onboard product which will see 8 first class seats, 80 business class seats and 298 economy seats in the cabin.
Boeing's Randy Tinseth ruled out a domestic configuration model for short-haul operations to replace the 19 747-400Ds that were delivered to Japanese customers between 1991 and 1995. The market, he says, is "non-existent" and the hit to the residual value of the aircraft does not justify its undertaking.
Stay tuned for all the news, photos and videos here in Everett, and follow my tweets at the speed of social media for more. Most importantly, make sure to watch the premier streamed live from Everett at www.newairplane.com.
Photo Credit (1) Boeing