On the 27th July 2016 Boeing announced it was taking a $1 billion loss on the 747-8 programme. It also announced that it was not now planning to increase production in 2019 from the new low it enters in September 2016, of just 0.5 aircraft per month – 6 a year.
It also stated that it was now looking at closing the programme down “shortly”, and shutting the line permanently, once the three frames requested for Air Force One’s replacement were built and remaining freight orders completed. That would take it, at best, to the end of 2018.
When it goes it will be then end for the worlds largest cargo aircraft, and for the descendent of the original 747, which by 2018 will mean production spanned nearly 50 years.
Panalpina is not an airline, nor does it hold its own AOC. It’s a freight, forwarding and logistics services company based in Switzerland. It isn’t whiter than white either, having had to pay $80 million USD in fines to the Justice Department for bribing officials abroad to push oil rig equipment through customs more quickly than they might have otherwise done.
Major hubs at Luxemburg Findel and Huntsville, Alabama move high-end automotive, fashion, oil field supplies and much lese around the world. It does this through an ACMI (wet lease) agreement with Atlas Air. They supply a single aircraft sprayed up in Panalpina’s “On 6 Continents” livery also known as “The Spirit of Panalpina”. This is the model of that aircraft. The other is an Atlas Air 744F.
A sister is Gemini’s recentl Atlas Air 747-87UF N852GT which you can see reviewed on the link.
It’s not Panalpina’s first link with an airline, as for a time they were associated with the somewhat dodgy Manston UK based MK Airlines, who even had a model produced as a corporate gift. You can find a review of the oddball model here: Herpa Special Edition “African Star” MK Airlines 747-200F 9G-MKL 2007
Delivered on 29th May 2012, she spends almost her time moving between Luxemburg and Huntsville, with the odd side trip to somewhere like Mexico City, Gudalajara, Stansted and Dallas. Here’s a couple of rare shots from February 2014 over-flying me at home at 35,000ft.
The model dates back to one of Phoenix’s less brilliant times, and I suspected it would have a problem or two – it was cheap left over stock. Yet when it arrived there was only one issue, one of the main gear wheel sets had fallen out, an easy enough fix, but a typical problem on Phoenix models from 2012. I expected the aerials to fall out, but they seem completely intact! Allegedly, only 600 of these models were made.
Credit to Phoenix for producing the best 1:400 scale 747-8F mould. It also has to be said that most of the time, they get the details pretty much spot on. There have been one or two less than successful versions – Silkway’s 748F was probably the worst mid 2015, with a gruesome paint job.
However, this one is sharp, clean, simple certainly, but what it does have in detail is quality, high definition and frankly, pretty much perfect.
2.Wings and landing gear
The wings on this model are superb, almost seamlessly inserted into the fuselage, over-glossed of course, but they look amazing.
The landing gear was for the most part, very good. Fortunately the wheels that did fall out where still in the box and easily replaced. It’s good that Phoenix put that problem to bed, though it took them a year or more.
The nacelles and exhaust cones are excellent, the fans are good, even a decent colour, the rims however are good but by no means excellent. The usual problem of silver paint on gloss, just not adhering properly. Now it’s by no means terrible, just not perfect – not as perfect as the engines on Dreamliners Phoenix produce. External detail is also very good.
4. Nose detail
It’s all there, it’s clean, well-defined, precision detail, first-rate.
5. Tail detail
The Panalpina blue is excellent, a great colour match.
7. Score and conclusions
- -5 for the missing landing gear wheels, even though fixable, they shouldn’t have been that way in the first place.
- 95% though for 2012 is a very good score.
Another excellent 748F model. I’m not 100% sure but I think I’ve got all of them except the Etihad (old livery, so until they repaint it, not interested), and the Saudia Cargo. The last one I’m constantly on the lookout for!
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