On June 1, I was invited by Lufthansa fly on the first scheduled passenger flight of the stretched Boeing 747-8 from Frankfurt to Washington DC. At 250 ft 2 inches from radome to rudder, the aircraft is just over 3 ft longer than the A340-600, making it the longest passenger-carrying commercial air transport to cross the Atlantic since the huge German-built Zeppelin airships of the 1920s and 30s.
Lufthansa’s first aircraft D-ABYA, temporarily housed in Lufthansa’s A380 Hangar 7, for celebration events the day before the maiden flight.
Land of the giants – Yankee Alpha shares the hangar with one of Lufthansa’s A380 “Tokio”.
Stairs to the upper deck pass the purser’s station located at Door 2 on the main deck
The purser at his reception desk-like station
At 62.8 ft tall, the top of the tail fin is actually 1.2 ft shorter than that of the 747-400. The tail fuel tank in the horizontal stabilizer is scheduled to be activated around the end of 2013.
Lufthansa Flight 416 awaits departure from Frankfurt’s Gate C16
Pushback – and the view from seat 88K on the upper deck
An Air Canada 777-300ER departs Rwy 25C – we’ll be seeing it again in a couple of hours. To watch a video of the take-off follow this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIu0BGtueHI&feature=g-upl
The new gapped-configuration leading edge Kruger flaps and raked tip are evident as we climb out of Frankfurt.
Above a cloudy UK, bright sunshine illuminates the stairwell.
Although there’s nothing to see but ‘undercast’ below, the IFE indicates we are crossing the rugged terrain of North Wales.
The new business class seating arrangement provides more space between seats at shoulder height but still allows for plenty of conversation.
…and off the west coast of Ireland we overtake the Air Canada 777-300ER that departed ahead of us at Frankfurt. Cruise speed at this point was Mach 0.85 – later slowed to Mach 0.845 to avoid arriving ahead of schedule for the festivities in DC.
Looking essentially identical to the 747-400 flightdeck, the -8 incorporates an upgraded flight management computer, improved navigation and landing systems and tools such as electronic checklists and airport moving map displays.
On the flight deck – Lufthansa 747-8 chief pilot Elmar Boje in the right hand seat and -8 training captains Carsten Asnus (left) and Christian Krauss (right). To see a short video of the flight deck click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHZZcdUDjFs&feature=context-gau
Germans love a good cake and the crew of LH416 was no exception. A special first flight cake was rolled out for consumption prior to landing. To see a video of the landing click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zllZ1LZW8OE&feature=g-upl
Washington Dulles fire crews provide the traditional salute on arrival.
Yankee Alpha nosed up to Gate B47 at Dulles.
Captain and crew of LH416 at the arrival ceremony in Dulles main terminal.