Building Boeing 747-8 Full Documentary - Worlds Longest Airliner

she's the latest model 747

the - eight

hurtling down the runway for takeoff

Southerland the pilot has to slam on the

brakes screeching to a home they grow

let hunter the fire fighters scramble

but do nothing

this isn't a disaster in the making but

one of the many tests that latest model

747 will face if she bursts into flames

she fails for almost 40 years the Jumbo

was the undisputed queen of the skies

recently she's lost that crown to the

bigger Airbus a318 and the team of

Boeing wants it back

they're going to completely redesign

this iconic plane in the world's largest

building the Boeing mega Factory


after 5/10 minutes

fire crews call the breaks in the 747s

wheels it's proof she can abort to take

off safely and let passengers escape

bowing hopes this will be her only

aborted takeoff


the 747 - a is the latest and most

technologically advanced version of the

company's flagship

she'll be the world's longest airliner

and more importantly the greenest in her



like every jumbo that graces the skies

shall be born at Everett Washington just

north of sample


Bowens mega factory is the largest

building on the planet


doors hold the Guinness world record for

the largest mural

how big you could fit all of Disneyland

inside it and still have room for



this is more than just a factory it's a

small city with its own fire department

and seven of America's busiest coffee

shops right there on the front reform


there's an armada of industrial-strength

trikes and bikes to help the employees

get around but it takes most people

months to learn the factory layout the

size was definitely overwhelming

a little hectic didn't really know

exactly what I was doing or really where

twenty three and a half years and I

still get lost in this factory sometimes

to this cavernous building is so large

clouds have been known to form near the

11 storey high ceiling it's a bit

wildering jumble of aircraft parts in

all shapes and sizes

but there is method beneath the madness

each jet the company makes him as its

own a science space this area is

reserved for the company's darling the

semaphore seven


the first plane ever built here was a

747 the original jumbo jet

she quickly establishes herself as the

undisputed queen of the skies the

dominance goes unchallenged for 40 years

until in 2007 the Airbus a380 eclipses

her in size and capacity

it's a double-decker seating 550


the a380 is a buses response to the

upsurge in air trouble over the past

decade there's really an upturn in the

aerospace industry we're seeing people

fly more often

airplanes are full there's really a lot

of demand for four new airplanes but not

just any place airlines are demanding

more efficient planes the a380 fits the

bill but in this environment the old

jumbo doesn't cut it anymore

with soaring fuel costs and concern for

the environment she's become expensive

and dirty to fly


but Boeing isn't throwing the baby out

with the bathwater

instead of designing a new plane from

the ground dome which could take a

decade and billions of dollars

they're going to give a radical makeover

to their old favorite a better and

greener jumbo

the - a fly faster

travel a third of the way around the

world without refueling and burn a lot

cleaner than any 747 before it

we really think the 7 for 7-8 is the

right sized airplane for the market

airbus offers of course a bigger

airplane in the a380 the 747 - 8 will

burn less fuel per seat than the a380 so

in important decisions for an airline

when they're deciding on what type of

big airplane they need but the a380 is

already flying

so Boeing has some catching up to do

good thing that in the hangar next door

they've got some innovative technology

ready to go this is where they're making

the revolutionary carbon fiber

Dreamliner the 787

she'll end a 747 her innovative wind

design and brand-new fuel-efficient

engines the new jumbo is even named

after her little sister she'll be the

747 - eh she's borrowing from the future

but also from her own 40-year heritage


the 747 story starts in the mid 1960s

the invention of jet aircraft has

created an upsurge in air travel demand

for intercontinental flights is taking

off and one carrier leads the way Paula


by 1965 Pan Am is desperate for bigger

and longer range as its president one

trend meets with Boeing's president

William Allen he asks him to build an

aircraft with a range of 5,000

kilometers that will seat 350 people

twice as many people as any plane before

it's an unprecedented task for chief

engineer Joe Sutter known as the father

of the 747 when we had to develop an

airplane with for 350 passengers instead

of a hundred how do you do it and the

first thought was to put one airplane on

top of another 40 years before the a380

Joe considers a double-decker when my

engineers got to work on it and we

looked at the troubles with a

double-decker you get lists a dozen of

them and that's where they conceived the

idea of a wide airplane with two aisles

legend has it Pan Am's one trip tells

Boeing if you build it I'll buy it he

signs up for twenty five Jumbo's worth a

total of 3.7 billion dollars in today's



Boeing accepts the challenge small

problem they don't have a factory large

enough to make a 747 so in 1966 Boeing

begins construction of the biggest mega

factory the world has ever seen

workers start building the original 747

even as the walls of the factory go up

around them

they become known as The Incredibles the

emblem of that was this this Forester

Paul Bunyan you know walked run with an

axe chopping trees down frankly my

engineers didn't go for that hoopla they

had a job to do they knew what the job

was doing and they just did it but

incredible they are they build the first

ever 747 from scratch in just 28 months

she rolls out of Boeing's mega Factory

on September 30th 1968

a champagne moment that didn't go quite

as plummet

allocate it don't break it yet the

cadence is going to be one two three



all right





we did have a few problems but the

moment of lifting off was a great moment

of relief I think for all of us people

have asked me if we were concerned you

know about our personal safety but no we

weren't that what didn't enter into it

we were busy we had a job to do there

was a lot to think about

and we were very excited when we got out

we were mobbed by everybody and it was a

great movement and it was a great

airplane but the 747 is only meant to be

a stopgap in the mid-60s the world wants

supersonic flight planes that can travel

faster than the speed of sound boeing

records it will only ever sell 50

passenger 747s it believes the real

future for the Jet Set is its supersonic

swing wing which will go head-to-head

with the European Concorde


but the supersonic dream proves an

economic dead-end it's a gas guzzler

Boeing never gets beyond this full-scale

mock-up instead it's the 747 with more

fuel-efficient engines that goes from


it's a ruler of the skies since 1968

Boeing's built over 1,400 Jumbo's

together they've flown the equivalent of

one hundred and one thousand trips to

the moon and back

and they've all been handcrafted here at

the Boeing mega Factory


in 43 years that hasn't changed making a

jumbo is still hands on work

there is not a robot inside there

double-checking in our assembly line

process it's really important to get the

cadence going or sometimes we call it

the drumbeat it's all about cycling and

the other is having our mechanics be

able to work on a job and then cycle

back to the next airplane and keep the

rhythm going but nothing is actually

made here Everett is simply a massive

assembly of parts from all corners of

the boat converge on Everett aircraft

seats from Germany wing elements from

China flaps from Australia the new 747 -

ate alone needs more than six million

parts and critically they all need to be

here just in time just in time

Manufacturing is a proven method that

saves Boeing money by not having to

purchase and store parts too far in

advance but it's risky timing is


yes we do have pert shortages the key to

our success and being able to keep

manufacturing building is to make sure

that parts that will actually stop the

production system never become short one

of the biggest components you don't want

hanging around is a 20 million dollar

engine the engines are expensive

commodity and so we're we're managing

our money from a standpoint of whip and

inventory costs so engines are usually

put on in all of our models about a day

or two before they roll out of the

factory and they come to us just in time

it's hard to misplace a 747 engine but

Boeing needs to keep track of over 6

million pounds

not all as obvious as a 7-ton engine yes

sir how are you today good I'm gonna

need a dipstick and puppy a gun barrel

over there every part is electronically

turning giving Boeing an instant

assessment of what's gone were y'all

making a 747 - eight starts with the

most important part of all the wing the

wing assembly area takes up a quarter of

the Jumbo's factory space


the new wings of the 747 are the largest

Boeing has ever built each one is big

enough to fit for three-bedroom houses

on top the wing design is crucial to

making the new 747 more efficient and

therefore greener the 747 for the first

four years had a 1960s technology

airfoil and the the latest modern design

air foils that have been used on that

787 have a different shape of airfoil

which improves the lift-to-drag ratio

which improves the the fuel burn on the

airplane the assembly stones with the

wing on its edge to allow easy access

the wing skeleton is made of three spars

which run along the length joined by 55


this shape provides great structural

integrity which will be needed the wings

support the full weight of the plane in

flight the stresses of turbulence plus

each wing will carry up to 58 tonnes of

fuel the aluminium skin of the wing is

attached to the frame with thousands of

fasteners every one of them is vital

mistakes here could cost lives so each

and every fastener is double check

torquing it which is nuts enter and then

what we're done fascinating we go

through again to make sure it's all

torqued out as the wing nears completion

it starts to take on its unique shape

it's the shape of the wind that will

live to four hundred and forty thousand

kilo jumbo into the air as wings move

through the air they create an area of

low pressure above and high pressure

below which creates left

whenever the airplane is in flight of

course there's air flowing around the

wing and the neck pressure if you will

on the wing is one in an upward


that's just one problem when these air

flows meet at the wingtips

efrem below the wing moves around to the


this circular flowed forms a vortex or

dirty air

this dirty Air Act downward pressure on

the wing

and reduces the lift it can generate

the solution is slanted or rated

wingtips these new wingtips forced the

vortices to form at the very end of the

wings and help reduce drag the new

design also creates new challenges test

flights reveal a small vibration in the

wings known as flutter the wings have

been oscillating up to 5 centimeters

during the testing on the airplane we

put the airplane through all corners of

the envelope the speed envelope the

altitude envelope when we are at high

speed with certain payload on the

airplane in certain fuel we did notice a

small vibration of the wing and engine

combination in extreme cases flutter

could bring a plate down by literally

shaking the wings off to meet

regulations and prevent delays the

problem with the wing needs to be

eliminated or it could ground the 747


not the first time


in the late 60s the original 747 had a

different wing issue Windtunnel tests

showed the pressure on the wing was not

distributed correctly threatening a

complete redesign but John Sutter came

to the rescue

we came up the idea of just twisting the

awkward wing down a couple of degrees

their thought was maybe this would work

well he tried that in the wind tunnel

and was just said simple fix we solved

the problems this simple fix works it

distributes the stresses on the Jumbos

wings correctly on the 747 is good to go

in Joe's honor it's dubbed the Sutter

twist the twist is key to the

incredibles completing the Jumbo on time

for its launch but the - eight story

takes a different twist


in a typically 21st century solution

engineers use the plane's computer

systems to cancel the vibrations they

call this computerized system

fly-by-wire a huge improvement on the

cables that used to control the wings a

pilot input would cause a cable to move

which would in turn signal to the

surface to move a fly-by-wire system is

where we've got computers in the loop

it's where where a pilot will move the

column turn the wheel and when they do

that it sends an electronic signal by a

wire to the actuator that will control

the surface now what that allows you to

do is put more computer and more flight

control software technology into the

handling characteristics of the airplane

they can use the computer system to make

tiny changes to the wing controls it's

account sell out the flutter it's a

simple solution in the spirit of Joe

Sutter's Incredibles I have an immense

amount of pride working on a product

that Joe Sutter and his team effectively

designed built and tested before I was

in kindergarten in 1968 Joe Sutter

and his team of Incredibles if the world

the most iconic shape in commercial

aviation history that famous home

but they don't design it as a

first-class retreat for the Jet Set

because Boeing thinks the future is

supersonic they see the Jumbo's future

as a freighter so luckily the pastor

requirement for 350 pastors and the big

freight capacity requirements blended

together so we could build a fairly

optimum airplane for both the passenger

role and the Freight role getting

passengers on is easy getting large

cargo on that's a challenge we looked a

lot of different schemes and one concept

was to put a nose door on the airplane

or some way of loading Freight from

their nose in a radical design move

cargo will enter through the nose this

place is the flight deck above and out

of the way and so that famous hump is


PanAm president Juan Trippe immediately

sees the potential Juan Trippe turned

around looked at this area it says

what's this used for and his chief

engineer said well it'd be a good crew

rest area and one trip looked at the

engineer and says this will be reserved

for passengers and that's how this upper

deck that we now fly on came into being

on the new passenger 747 that's iconic

hump has expanded to the length of an

entire 737


back at the factory work is progressing

on the fuselage it's built in several

sections rear middle and the front with

that famous hump each section is

assembled panel by panel


all the body panels are coated with a

green protective vinyl to prevent damage

during construction only the nose is

made as one piece the lower part of the

main body is built upside down for

easier workflow then it's rotated 180

degrees in a special turn fixture so

they can put on the roof once assemble

its so unwieldly

only a mammoth 34 ton crane can lift it

a total of 26 cranes on 50 kilometers of

sealing tracks fly the sections around

the massive complex you know tell all

the airline pilots that hey we flew them

first for you we can just pick it up

why're wherever it's got to go

set it back down and

if you get to go to work on it there are

a couple people who have a fear of

heights that are in this job but it's

best if you don't before the fuselage

pieces are moved to their final assembly

position it's critical to make sure that

nothing is left behind

a loose bolt could cause a disaster if

it rolled into the wrong place such as

an engine or even one of the fuel tanks

every rivet every fastener you put in it

could be a critical item I remember an

old saying I heard years ago quantity is

something you count quality you simply

count on its 2 a.m. but Boeing never

sleeps inside the world's largest

building and extremely complicated

maneuver is underway


so far - a team has built her wings and

her fuselage now it's time to bring it

all together to make this - I look like

a jumbo joining up the three sections of

the fuselage is one of the most

demanding jobs in the entire assembly

process which is way it's done in the

dead of night it's safer fewer people on

the floor less chance of something going

wrong with millions of dollars worth of

aircraft parts coming together this is

an extremely delicate industrial dance

the grand crew have to pay attention to

the smallest details the crew are

positioning the forward section to

receive the wings when lowering a

section the team must be precise


order entry the way

the wings are now joined to the center

fuselage they span almost the entire

width of the factory floor two tractors

was poor at exactly the same speed to

stop the wind section from varying off

into the sides of the factory

the clearance between the walls and the

wingtips is just five centimeters next

the tail section joins up with the rest

of the plane the characteristic jumbo

outline is taking shape she's 76 meters

long and 68 meters across thousands of

hands have got the aircraft to this

stage the task of managing and

organizing such a large crew isn't easy

but it's something Boeing has had plenty

of practice at over the last 40 years


during the early years boeing faced a

financial meltdown became close to

bankruptcy there were layoffs and

pressure to halt development running the

747 program was a real challenge we were

working very hard to get all of the

drawings out at that time so the

engineering department it was peaking

out at about 4,500 people I was asked to

make a big cut to that we needed 800

more engineers I think maybe I'm gonna

lose my job today but I'm gonna tell him

the way I see it I figured that it was

when I did the best job I could have for

boeing if i had reduced the engineering

force the whole program could have

tumbled the latest jumbo jet program

also has the potential to tumble

in 2008 Boeing's machinists go on strike

for two months throwing an already tight

schedule into disarray each day lost

that costs Boeing 100 million dollars

added to the wing engineering issues

Boeing is forced to delay delivery by

two years


some buyers cancel their orders but

Boeing's immediate concern is to finish

this one it's time to give them some


time for the new engines before

revolutionary ones the old 747 engine's

consume over twelve thousand liters of

fuel per hour with oil prices at an

all-time high

airlines are seeking any way to minimize

fuel consumption finding a more

efficient engine is critical to the dash

8 success


General Electric is at the forefront of

jet engine design

these brand-new engines are the most

efficient they have ever made

Boeing challenged GE to adapt them for

the new 747


but they don't come cheap with a list

price of 20 million dollars each these

engines are the new jumbo single most

expensive component but they are worth

every cent composite materials used in

the fan blades and casing trim 180

kilograms from each engine

multiply that by 4 then it equals almost

10 extra passengers and with fewer fan

blades and lower turning speeds these

are the quietest engines GE has ever


they can push through more air with less

work and that means burning less fuel so

how do they do that only 10% of the air

is mixed with fuel and burnt in the

combustion chamber driving a series of

turbines that power the big fan at the

front and that's the fan which pushes

the other 90% of the air out the back of

the engine creating thrust


despite burning less fuel four of them

can propel a fully laden 747 - a at over

1,000 kilometers per hour just one of

these engines creates as much thrust as

all eight engines on a b-52

back at the factory it's time to hang

the engines massive concrete blocks

along the wings where the engines will

go without them

the aeroplane would tip back on its tail

each engine weighs seven tons and there

are four engines to get off their

trolleys then onto the wings that's like

hanging fog bull elephants it's a job to

do slowly carefully they put a lot of

tension on it test it if the four

winches are slightly misaligned it won't

go in square and they're in trouble

our teams a pretty tight unit we work

together fairly well we all have our

positions on the plane that we like zero

all right start pulling your pins we

communicate well together this way keeps

us from getting into any troubles

Ernest up for safety safety we're about

12 inches away we're going to pull the

bolts from the front fitting there's a

pin up front that lines up the forward

mount so we lube that up with a nice

ease will come up another six inches

make sure everything is clear then we'll

come up the last six inches and then put

all four bolts in very close tolerance

within a thousandth of an inch come on

up it's only takes eight bolts to hang

these massive engines all four started

all grabbing

here you go up 50% that's yet I'm still

getting these down axel okay the torque

on those bolts are 625 foot-pounds on

the rear 375 foot-pounds on the front

the Front's are designed to shear off

that's per design and that's in case

there is any problems that the engine

will shear at the front fall back and

break away from the plane without taking

out wings or flaps or any of that there

are three more engines to mount once

again the crew will need to burn the

midnight oil to get the job done

after weeks of painstaking work it's

almost time to switch the Beast on but

first there's more painstaking work


every circuit needs to be checked one by

one this plane uses a lot of electricity

enough to power over 50 households 214

kilometers of wiring runs through the

aircraft it all converges in the

electronics Bay

it's the planes nervous system


the new fly-by-wire technology is

controlled by onboard computers

but it's not totally automated the pilot

can override the computer and there are

multiple layers of backup if something

should go wrong if I were to lower the

flaps it takes hydraulics systems to do

that but if for some reason the

hydraulics were unavailable we could use

the air or pneumatic air pressure to

lower the flaps if that was unavailable

we could use electricity to lower the

class so there's multiple layers of

redundancy technicians use a special

computer to send a test signal to every

single circuit second trigger one zero

four nine five kilo two Bravo

24 and rabidpenguin the moment of truth

time to plug in the factory power supply

and fire her up for the first time


powerin is a key moment in completing a

- eight


with engines in place this jumbo is

almost ready to take to the skies but

first she needs an interior like the GE

NX engines and winks her new interior is

borrowed from her little sister the



there's new colors more space and mood

lighting Boeing customers have their own

idea of interior design each once

they're jumbo painted in their colors

inside and out in the mega factories

huge paint shop the green protective

vinyl is washed off a base layer is

sprayed on by hand followed by several

coats of color depending on the

customers livery



they need to be careful with the number

of layers they apply too much paint

could mask the tell-tale signs of metal


besides the extra weight of more paint

would only increase fuel consumption a

typical paint job uses 500 kilos of

paint it will last for years

this one is painted in Boeing's own

colors because it's time to put her

through her paces she must undergo a

series of grueling test flights before


test pilots push the plane to extremes

that will never be endured by its

passengers unless they work for Boeing

just putting away the hand luggage won't

be enough for this flight

these Boeing engineers have to tie

everything down from their lunch to

their laptop you don't have a clamp down

they fly in the air and it'll literally

go straight up to the ceiling

and it can come down and hit down and

the flight load survey is one of the

most grueling tests for the plane and

for those on board a strong stomach

comes in handy

it might look like fun but it's serious

business the flight load survey tests

weight loads across the plane the pilots

perform extremely movers pitching the

plane up then down going from zero

gravity to two g's in seconds stressing

the fuselage and the wings it's great

fun for them for the first couple of

minutes but imagine that we do this for

several hours at a time

sooner or later maybe it's not such

great fun anymore during these tests the

weight distribution of the plane is

controlled using water the pilots and

engineers can pump water through barrels

to shift weight along the fuselage this

simulates various load configurations to

play might encounter when it's in

service at the forward center of gravity

ops center of gravity heavyweight

lightweight we need to be sure that it

over the entire range of operating

envelope of the airplane that the

characteristics are good

next the - eight faces the grueling

velocity minimum on stick test test

pilots try to take off as slowly as


they Sports is the tail to scrape the


to press the test the plane was safely

liftoff at this speed the epic pilot

were to inadvertently abuse a takeoff

and the tail where to strike the ground

before takeoff that the airplane could

still lift off safely in that attitude

and so when we do that we attach a long

wooden block on the tail so that will

drag the tail on the ground and we don't

damage the skin of the airplane that way


next they've got this new jet through

the flutter test flutter is the aviation

word for vibration

this test pushes fly-by-wire control to

the limit it's all high-speed they

generally above the ordinary envelope

that we let airline pilots operate the

aircraft at we vibrate each of the axes

of the airplane by quite literally

kicking the controls one at a time to

watch how the controls react and make

sure that the airplane in fact tamps the

vibration out to a quiet and smooth

ending in a very quick fashion now it's

time to slum on the brakes in my dad and

see what happens

airline pilots typically are trained how

to recover from an approach to a stall

but rarely if ever actually see an

aircraft in a stalled state we see it

all the time we've done hundreds and

hundreds of stalls on just this model of

airplane and they're really they're

really quite benign a stole is when a

plane's nose rises too high

the wings then stop generating lift and

the plane begins to fall from the sky I

just release back pressure on the column

and let it migrate towards the center

and sometimes I just drop my hands to my

sides the airplane recovers just fine

all by itself

thousands of workers have put together

six million parts to form this war



she's conquered everything the test

pilots could throw at her she survived

manufacturing delays and deadlines


for just 333 million dollars you can

have a brand new Boeing 747-8 - eight

all of you are


the new jumbo is ready to take on the

ultimate test competition in the skies

I would tell new pilots of the 747 -

eight to be excited this is a wonderful

machine but I think this 727 - eight

will be the airplane and it takes some

it will be the airplane for the next 20



the world's biggest building this mega

factory is delivering its 3380 first

aircraft she's a little bit late but

worth the wait the brand new 7 for 7-8

is ready to reclaim her title as Queen

of the skies