/>

Where Boeing's next-gen 747-8 comes to life (photos)

The plane maker on Sunday will formally unveil its next-gen 747-8 Intercontinental. CNET takes you inside the factory in Everett, Wash.

New_CNET_profile_picture.jpg
Daniel Terdiman
Lufthansa_747-8_I.jpg
1 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Lufthansa 747-8 Intercontinental

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.

Factory_building.jpg
2 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Everett factory

The outside of the Everett factory, where many Boeing passenger plane models are built, including the 747, 787, and 777.
747-8_F_nose_front.jpg
3 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Nose

A look at the nose section of an under-assembly 747-8 freighter.
747-8_F_front.jpg
4 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

747-8 Front

The front of a 747-8 freighter that is in final assembly at Boeing's giant Everett, Wash., plant.
Lufthansa_747-8_I_front_close-up.jpg
5 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Lufthansa up close

A close-up of the front right side of this 747-8 Intercontinental, which is under final assembly for Boeing's launch partner, Lufthansa.
Full_747-8_F.jpg
6 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

747-8 F

A side view of a 747-8 freighter in final assembly.
Interior_top_section_747-8_I.jpg
7 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Top section

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.
Interior_main_section_747-8_I.jpg
8 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Interior main section

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.
747-8_I_engines.jpg
9 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Intercontinental engines

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.
747-8_I_engine_rear.jpg
10 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Engine rear

A close-up of a General Electric GEnx-2B engine, from the rear.
747-8_F_engine_open.jpg
11 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Engine open

A look at a GEnx-2B engine, with its sides open.
747-8_I_engine_front_open.jpg
12 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Engine front

A look from the front and side of a GEnx-2B engine, with its sides open.
747-8_front_from_side.jpg
13 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Front from side

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.
3_747-8_Fs_on_floor.jpg
14 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Three 747-8s

A view across the vast floor of the Boeing Everett assembly plant, where we see three 747-8 F's under assembly.
Landing_gear.jpg
15 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Landing gear

The landing gear of a 747-8. All told, a 747-8 has 18 tires, each of which has 35 layers of material.
747-8_I_engine_front.jpg
16 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Engine from front

A look at a General Electric GEnx-2B engine from the front.
Wing_section_under_assembly.jpg
17 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Wing section under assembly

A view of a 747-8 wing waiting to be joined with one of the plane's fuselages.
Wing_from_above.jpg
18 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Wing from above

A look at the wing of a 747-8 freighter from above.
Tail_fin_on_side.jpg
19 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Horizontal stabilizer

A horizontal stabilizer of a 747-8 freighter awaiting assembly.
Mid_spar.jpg
20 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Mid spar

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.
Front_of_wing_up_close.jpg
21 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Front of wing

A close-up of the front of the plane's wing.
Fuel_jettison_cone.jpg
22 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Fuel jettison cone

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.
Fort_Knox.jpg
23 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Fort Knox

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.
Turn_fixture.jpg
24 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Turn fixture

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.
Wing_and_engine.jpg
25 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Wing and engine

The wing and engine of a 747-8 under final assembly.
Up_and_under_wing.jpg
26 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Up and under wing

A look up and under a 747-8 freighter's wing.
Under_wing_from_side.jpg
27 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Under wing from side

A look under the wing from the side.
Undernearth_747-8_I_front.jpg
28 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Underneath the 747-8 I

A look at the 747-8 Intercontinental from underneath its front.
Under_747-8_I_wing.jpg
29 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Under the 747-8 Intercontinental wing

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.
Proudly_building_the_best.jpg
30 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Proudly building the best

A poster touting Boeing's pride in its next-gen plane.
Wiring_undernearth_main_section_747-8_I.jpg
31 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Wiring underneath 747-8 Intercontinental

A look at the wiring underneath the main section of a 747-8 Intercontinental that is in final assembly.
Working_inside_747-8_I_bottom_section.jpg
32 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Working inside the plane

Boeing employees work inside a 747-8 Intercontinental that is under final assembly.
Wing_with_no_engine.jpg
33 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Wing with no engine

The wing of a 747-8 freighter with its General Electric GEnx-2B engines not yet attached.
Wing_panel_skins.jpg
34 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Wing panel skins

These are skins that go around the section of a 747-8 where the wings will be joined.
Wing_tug.jpg
35 of 35 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Wing tug

It takes two of these devices to move the 747-8's wings into place. They are too heavy to be lifted using cranes.

More Galleries

Nintendo Switch: The 36 best games to play in 2021

More Galleries

Nintendo Switch: The 36 best games to play in 2021

37 Photos
55 weird objects seen on Mars, explained

More Galleries

55 weird objects seen on Mars, explained

57 Photos
Volkswagen's new T7 Multivan looks awesome

More Galleries

Volkswagen's new T7 Multivan looks awesome

10 Photos
2022 Kia Telluride looks basically the same as before

More Galleries

2022 Kia Telluride looks basically the same as before

18 Photos
2022 Honda Civic: Sharper performance and a revolutionary cabin

More Galleries

2022 Honda Civic: Sharper performance and a revolutionary cabin

69 Photos
Toyota Land Cruiser J300 flagship is now forbidden fruit

More Galleries

Toyota Land Cruiser J300 flagship is now forbidden fruit

17 Photos
2020 Toyota Tundra: Still thundering along

More Galleries

2020 Toyota Tundra: Still thundering along

39 Photos