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Lufthansa 747-8 Intercontinental

Everett factory

Nose

747-8 Front

Lufthansa up close

747-8 F

Top section

Interior main section

Intercontinental engines

Engine rear

Engine open

Engine front

Front from side

Three 747-8s

Landing gear

Engine from front

Wing section under assembly

Wing from above

Horizontal stabilizer

Mid spar

Front of wing

Fuel jettison cone

Fort Knox

Turn fixture

Wing and engine

Up and under wing

Under wing from side

Underneath the 747-8 I

Under the 747-8 Intercontinental wing

Proudly building the best

Wiring underneath 747-8 Intercontinental

Working inside the plane

Wing with no engine

Wing panel skins

Wing tug

EVERETT, Wash.--Although aviation giant Boeing has been focused largely on its long-awaited 787 Dreamliner for the last few years, it has also been working feverishly to launch the next-generation of the most iconic airplane ever, the 747. Boeing tomorrow will formally unveil the 747-8 Intercontinental, almost exactly a year after the first flight of its cargo version, the 747-8 F.

CNET and much of the other aviation press corps today got a rare tour of the 747-8 assembly plant, deep inside the largest building in the world (by volume). For 747 fans, it was a terrific treat. For those who just wanted to see the new version of the famous plane being built, it was equally rewarding.

This is a 747-8 Intercontinental being built for Lufthansa, Boeing's launch partner for the new plane.

Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
The outside of the Everett factory, where many Boeing passenger plane models are built, including the 747, 787, and 777.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look at the nose section of an under-assembly 747-8 freighter.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
The front of a 747-8 freighter that is in final assembly at Boeing's giant Everett, Wash., plant.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A close-up of the front right side of this 747-8 Intercontinental, which is under final assembly for Boeing's launch partner, Lufthansa.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A side view of a 747-8 freighter in final assembly.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look inside the top section of a 747-8 Intercontinental that is under assembly. This plane is being built for a private Boeing customer.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look inside the main section of a 747-8 Intercontinental that is under assembly. This plane is being built for a private Boeing customer.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look from the rear at the two General Electric GEnx-2B engines on the right wing of a 747-8 Intercontinental that is under assembly. This is the first of the Intercontinentals being built for Lufthansa, Boeing's launch partner on the new plane.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A close-up of a General Electric GEnx-2B engine, from the rear.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look at a GEnx-2B engine, with its sides open.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look from the front and side of a GEnx-2B engine, with its sides open.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
There may be no more famous silhouette in aviation than that of a 747. Here, we see the famous double-decker front of a 747-8 freighter under final assembly.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A view across the vast floor of the Boeing Everett assembly plant, where we see three 747-8 F's under assembly.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
The landing gear of a 747-8. All told, a 747-8 has 18 tires, each of which has 35 layers of material.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look at a General Electric GEnx-2B engine from the front.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A view of a 747-8 wing waiting to be joined with one of the plane's fuselages.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look at the wing of a 747-8 freighter from above.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A horizontal stabilizer of a 747-8 freighter awaiting assembly.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A mid-spar of a 747-8. There are three spars that make up each wing of an airplane, and this one provides structure for the wing. It is essentially the backbone of the wing.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A close-up of the front of the plane's wing.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
This is the fuel jettison cone, which is used if, in an emergency, the pilot decides it is vital to ditch all the fuel from the plane.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
This is the over-center wing box, a piece of the plane's skin that is meant to handle loads for the wing. It is heat bonded and heat treated, and thicker than the rest of the plane's skin. It is called "Fort Knox" because it is the strongest piece of the aircraft.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
This is the turn fixture, a giant device that is used to flip the plane's fuselage over in assembly so that teams can work on either the top or the bottom.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
The wing and engine of a 747-8 under final assembly.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look up and under a 747-8 freighter's wing.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look under the wing from the side.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look at the 747-8 Intercontinental from underneath its front.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look at the underside of the 747-8 Intercontinental's wing as the plane sits in final assembly at Boeing's massive Everett, Washington facility.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A poster touting Boeing's pride in its next-gen plane.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
A look at the wiring underneath the main section of a 747-8 Intercontinental that is in final assembly.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
Boeing employees work inside a 747-8 Intercontinental that is under final assembly.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
The wing of a 747-8 freighter with its General Electric GEnx-2B engines not yet attached.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
These are skins that go around the section of a 747-8 where the wings will be joined.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
It takes two of these devices to move the 747-8's wings into place. They are too heavy to be lifted using cranes.
Caption by / Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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