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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

747-800 has A330 similarities!

A friend of mine just recently went through 747-8 differences training at Boeing. I asked what are the biggest differences between the 744 and the 747-8. The answers were surprising, as some as the improvements were similar to the A330.

  • The 747-800  has a VSD: Vertical Situation Display, which sits at bottom of ND and shows aircraft in descent profile view of what the airplane is doing. I’m told it’s active below 3000 feet, and you can see the terrain here. He says, “It’s just clutter. If I wasn’t teaching, I wouldn’t use it.”

  • -800 has a Multi-function display that can move the Inboard to the lower CRTs…. Just like the A330. 

Paine Field
  • If Hydraulic Systems go, the number 2 and 3 demand pumps kick in when flaps are beyond 20. That’s new to the 744.

  • There is a Nitrogen generating system for the center fuel tank. Suppressing flammability. A catalytic converter removes oxygen and supplements with nitrogen. Very cool.

  • 747-800 takes 20 feet more turning radius than the 744.

  • I believe it can carry 406,000 lbs of fuel, 40,000 more than 744. As comparison, the A330-300 maximum fuel load is 172, 000 lbs and the -200, is 245,000 lbs.

  • "There is a switch that will take the trim back to zero!" Yes... just like the A330. 

747-800 over Mt. Baker, Washington

  • "There’s a towing switch!" The A330 has a Nose Wheel Steering towing switch too.

  • -800 has an electronic checklist. Used normally on the lower CRT for “All” checklists. There are closed loop items. The computer automatically senses the non-completion of items. Select the item and it’s removed from the list. Proceed down the checklist until it say’s complete. There are no paper checklists. The item stays up there until complete.  The A330 does this too... but not to this extent of removing all paper checklists. The logic for certain items are still there.
  • The main deck has fire suppression and depressurizes the cabin to 25,000 feet. Cargo fire suppression has a “few” more bottles than the 744. 
  • Approaches. The -800 has an IAN. Integrated Approach Navigation... to fly a VOR, Backcourse, or NDB. The IAN appears to be like the A330’s Managed Nav approaches. But the -800 cannot land with autothrottles or the autopilot on, during the IAN approach. On the A330 the autopilot kicks off at 50 feet below the MDA, but she can land with autothrottles. 
  • It appears that the most common answer with any question on the 747-8 is:  “Depends upon customer options.”  But there is nothing as beautiful as the 747-800! 

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene


  1. I can't believe Boeing can categorically state a 20ft turning radius difference from the 400 series! Incredible.

  2. Great comparison. Thanks for posting. After all these years, the 747 still takes my breath away. It's like first love.

  3. What a beautiful photo! And I love that orange paint job, woweee! I'd seen the one at BFI for the past year but I missed first flight. Very cool :)

  4. I have to agree with Christine H. When I saw that picture, all I could think is, "It's So Pretty!" Would love to fly on that.

  5. that picture is absolutely gorgeous! I heard on the news the other night that it was owned by an un-named individual.....true?

  6. While most of that is Greek to me, I did enjoy the pictures. ;) You keep expanding my mind Karlene and I love that!

  7. Thanks Karlene Would have been fun to fly the new bird. The old ones were really flying sort of. Mike

  8. Beautiful airplane...want Delta to order a few of those Karlene?

    YYC Dispatcher

  9. Thanks for your comment Fred. Yes, some things are hard to believe!

  10. Hi Christine... she is beautiful! I want to fly her.

  11. Anonymous... yes, she is like a first love. I love her too! So beautiful.

  12. Hi Emily, her first flight was spectacular. It was fun listening to the Captain talk during the interview. He was excited.

  13. Linda, she is beautiful and we will both fly on her one day.

  14. Thanks Heather! You keep expanding my mind too. I've learned so much from you. Thank you!

  15. Yeah... Mike, the old ones "were" really flying. We can miss it. But she is so pretty. And big. :)

  16. YYC Dispatcher... OH YEAH! I wish Delta would order some. That would be my dream. I thought I was a dreamliner girl... but I could shift to a -800 girl with ease.

  17. Well... Since you have significant flying and teaching experience on both sides, a very creditable note thanks. The automatic and 'envelope' stuff is wonderful, but both seats still need to know how to drive it by hand, when necessary. I think that includes some 'cancel' and 'override' buttons at times. When something hits the fan, the engineers in Seattle or 'too-loose, France, won't be of much help. You must understand your machine and command/control every action. For those 'smart planes' like your A330, I suspect that women may be better 'pinch' drivers. One fine post and thanks! -C.

  18. Thanks for the comment C. I'm still thinking the Boeing may be better kicking everything off and flying her than my Bus. But, I also might agree on the A330 and the women drivers. I actually wrote a paper in college on that very thing.

  19. It has even more in common with the 787 (a project I worked on at NWA for two years).
    Still, I think Boeing left a lot of things on the table (or out of the building) that the A330 has, that they still do not even though the A330 was designed quite a while ago now.
    Like, "where's the table?" and what's this big handle thing in the way?

  20. Flybywire, that is so true... I forgot about the 787, and how similar. And that big handle thing... you and I know it's all about the size of the watch. Maybe the customers who ordered it just didn't feel comfortable without a big handle thing between their legs to hold on to.
    No table? What were they thinking? Thanks for the comment!


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