This modified 747 is a key element in Boeing's new 787 program.
The idea is to outsource manufacturing of various component to factories in Europe, Japan, Australia and elsewhere. Then Boeing can fly the components to it's factory in Everett for final assembly.
The article raises some interesting points about globalization. But here's what I find interesting about this program.
- This freighter really is the ugliest plane in the world. Except for this one.
- Boeing outsourced the conversion of the 747. Apparently, Boeing did not feel that Boeing was the best company rebuild 4 Boeing jets and change them into special purpose Boeing freighters.
- Mitsubishi is one of the major suppliers for the 787. Mitsubishi has a long history as an airplane company. If I'm not mistaken, Mitsubishi built much of Japan's WWII airforce. And since then all major aircraft manufacturing has been in the US and Europe. Now, it's growing in Brasil (Embraer) and Canada (Bombardier). Is it really in Boeing's best interest to spread aircraft engineering expertise around the world?
- It's going to be awesome seeing this beast over the mountains of the Northwest.
- There's is something mildly creepy about this one aircraft disgoring parts for another aircraft.
- I hope they paint it pretty.