The 747-8. Some say it’s a commercial failure, while some say it was merely intended to take orders away from the A380 and serve as the last hurrah of the 747 family. Whatever you believe, you can’t deny it’s one beautiful airplane!
The 747-8, (not the 747-800), is the latest and greatest aircraft in the 747 family. The ‘-8’ got its moniker mainly from the 787-8, from which it shares a lot of design techniques with. Boeing redesigned the wing to increase efficiency while reducing drag, fitted brand new and extremely efficient GENx engines, stretched the fuselage, updated the avionics suite, as well as reworked and optimized countless systems to make the airplane that much more efficient and reliable over her older sister.
When PMDG first announced their 747 Queen of the Skies II package back in 2014, it was also announced that they would be redoing the 747-8. In doing so, this aimed to bring it up to, if not exceeding, the standard of their recently released, at the time, 777. Previously, the -8 had just been the regular 747 with a new external model; not this time, though. While the 747 base package was released back in January of 2017, the -8 was only just released as of a few weeks ago and said to be nearly a year behind schedule.
At the surface, you’d be forgiven to think that the -8 is just a stretched -400 with new avionics, engines, and wings. But, when you really start to dig deep, you’ll notice just how different the aircraft really is compared to her predecessor.
The -8 is an extremely data-driven airplane, much like the 787, and thus required an extensive rework of the base 747-400 package in order for the -8 to be an expansion in the first place. When I say data-driven, I mean data-driven. The -8 features an electronic checklist, much like the 777, as well as a new EFB and VSI monitoring. Along with all the new tech, this adds up to almost a completely new airplane. And in my time thus far with the -8, it really shows.
With PMDG’s widely regarded reputation as one of the best flight sim addon developers does the -8 live up to the hype?