Boeing has completed major assembly of the first set of wings for the 747-8 Freighter, the company announced today. The 135-foot, 3-inch wings–thicker and wider than those they replace on the 747-400–incorporate new aerodynamics and allowances for different pressure distribution and bending moments. They feature single-slotted outboard flaps and double-slotted inboard flaps, rather than the less-maintenance-friendly triple-slotted inboard and outboard flaps on the 747-400, along with raked wingtips similar those appearing on the 787, rather than winglets. The new wings hold nearly 60,755 gallons of fuel, compared with 57,285 gallons in the 747-400 Freighter. Other features, primarily incorporated to aid low-speed performance and cut noise, include improved rigging, aileron droop, redesigned flap tracks with “optimized” flap-track fairings and redesigned Krueger flaps with a gapped configuration. The 747-8 Freighter will use the exact same wings as the passenger version of the airplane, the 747-8 Intercontinental.
Production of the 747-8 Freighter began in Everett, Wash., last August. Within three months, Boeing moved the projected service entry with launch customer Cargolux from late this year to the third quarter of next year. It also rescheduled first delivery of the 747-8 Intercontinental to Lufthansa from late next year to the second quarter of 2011. The company blamed the setbacks on its need to borrow engineering resources from the 747-8 to help speed the near-two-year-late 787 program, last year’s machinists’ strike and changes to the design.