PLEASE NOTE: As of the publishing of this post, the video has yet to be processed properly by YouTube – so you may need to come back later to see the video. The video may appear very grainy at the moment. It has been a few hours – my patience has expired.
Lufthansa Cargo today took delivery of their 5th of 5 777F aircraft that had been ordered from Boeing. D-ALFE or ‘Hallo Germany’ was handed over to Lufthansa Cargo and the capable hands of her crew at 3:00p on February 11, 2015 and took off shortly there after to join her sisters in Frankfurt.
It was a bit of a bittersweet moment to watch her fly away since she is the last of the 777Fs that Cargo had ordered. Cargo now operates 5 777F aircraft along with the rest of their MD-11 Freighter fleet.
Next up for Lufthansa is the delivery of 3 more 747-8i aircraft over the next few weeks. After these deliveries it will be quite some time until we see the Lufthansa livery around Paine Field. The next opportunity will come when the 777X aircraft start to show up in Frankfurt in a few years.
Here are few photos and video that captured the moment. The video starts a bit out of focus because the other camera that was being used was not auto-focusing. You may want to reduce the size of the video however it does get sharper once the aircraft enters the runway.
D-ALFE only seconds after her official delivery to Lufthansa Cargo.
D-ALFE is towed to a point where she could start her engines.
Holding short of Runway 16R
Taxi into position or as I’d like to call it: ‘The Money Shot’
Thanks to @MattCawby & his Paine Field Blog for capturing a glimpse of D-ABYT. Lufthansa’s latest 747-8i sports a retro-livery reminding us of the days of the 747-200s. If I were you, I would follow Matt on twitter – he is the best at bringing the first photos of aircraft as they exit the Boeing factory!
To facilitate the global effort behind the Boeing 787, Boeing has a fleet of 4 heavily modified 747 aircraft that are used to transport large structural components from Japan & Italy to assembly plants in Everett Washington & Charleston, South Carolina. The fleet is based at the recently completed Dreamlifter Operations Center at Paine Field and is operated under contract by Atlas Air.
Normally, it would take upwards of 30 days for wing structures to travel from Tokyo to Everett by ship but with the Dreamlifter the time is reduced to only 8-12 hours. This allows Boeing to maintain an aggressive 787 manufacturing calendar.
In addition to its signature bulged fuselage design, a unique feature of the Dreamlifter is its swing-tail design that has the tail section of the aircraft swing open like a door on hinges to provide maximum access for loading and unloading of the aircraft.
While I was in Everett last week I was fortunate to witness several Dreamlifter departures and arrivals as well as the bonus of watching a Dreamlifter being loaded with Wing Jigs ahead of a flight to Japan to pick up and return with pairs of 787 wings. During my visit to Everett I had the opportunity to capture the loading process on video which you’ll find below along with a few photos of the Dreamlifter.
I also had the chance to see the Dreamlifter in Anchorage last year so if you would like to see those photos with fantastic mountain backdrops, please visit my Dreamlifter gallery on Aero-Shots.com. You’ll see the Dreamlifter in Anchorage occasionally because it makes a technical stop there when flying between Japan and Charleston.
I’ve been in Paine for a couple of days and have been dealt a hand of bad weather weather for plane spotting. Rain, fog, and mist have all gotten into the way so far but I did catch a break tonight. With most of the rain and mist ending, it became easier to frame a few decent shots.
Several 787s are parked around the field as they wait completion and delivery. Below, you’ll find a few from Virgin, Scoot, United, American, and JAL among others.
Known on Twitter as Paine Airport (@MattCawby), Matt has the pulse on what is happening with Boeing as far as aircraft movements are concerned. His regular updates helps followers keep tabs on test flights, assembly movements and delivery flight information. You can see more of his work and photography on his website as well.
So after I get the call letting me know that ‘D-ALFE’, the last 777F that LH Cargo has on order, was set to move from one hangar to another I set off to a ‘secret’ spot that lets you see inside the assembly hangars. A Cathay Pacific 777 had just been completed and moved to the fuel dock making room for D-ALFE to move into place.
Here is a video and a few images showing the transfer from last night (January 10, 2015):
D-ALFE as she is prepared to move along Boeing’s assembly line.
D-ALFE pushed back into her final assembly position
D-ALFE will now have her engines attached and stay here until she is ready for the Paint Hangar