By Dan Catchpole Herald Writer
EVERETT — This Seahawk can soar. It can fly more than 600 mph and higher than 40,000 feet.
If you look up in coming days, you might see it over metro Puget Sound — a 747-8 freighter painted in Seattle Seahawks livery.
The massive plane rolled out of a paint hangar at the Boeing Co.’s Everett site Wednesday afternoon in a light rain. Clusters of employees wearing yellow safety vests watched as the jumbo jet was backed out onto the tarmac. They snapped photos and occasionally cheered and shouted, “Go Hawks!”
The Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos, who don’t have a jumbo jet painted with their logo, this Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII.
The company decided to paint the plane almost on a whim, said Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s 747 program.
The idea came up during a meeting the Monday after the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl.
“Then we went on with business,” Lindblad said.
But the next morning, Boeing executives started seriously considering it. The engineering and painting crews said it could be done, and the plane was worked into the painting schedule.
“So here we are,” said Lindblad as he stood in the paint hangar wearing a Russell Wilson Seahawks road jersey over a checkered dress shirt.
It takes about 200 gallons to paint a 747-8.
This particular freighter had been ordered by Atlas Air, which switched its order to a newer version, he said.
Boeing will use it as a test plane, but it also is talking with several potential buyers.
The company has a backlog of 55 orders for the 747-8, and it continues to improve the venerable jumbo jet. Late last year, it added new GE engines, significantly improving the plane’s fuel efficiency.
“We intend to get quite a few more years out of this airplane,” Lindblad said.
Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seahawks 747 facts
- At about 240 feet (or 80 yards), Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s longest pass this season was almost as long as a 747-8 fuselage (243.5 feet).
- Wilson threw for 3,357 yards (or 10,071 feet) this season, similar to the 10,650 feet of runway a 747-8 needs to takeoff.
- Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin can run the 180-foot-long main deck of a 747-8 in less than seven seconds.
- At 30 pounds a seat, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch can squat-press the equivalent of 16 economy-class seats.
- A 747-8 freighter can fit 121 million Skittles candies, weighing about 302,400 pounds.
- It would take 144 747-8 passenger airplanes to carry all the Seahawks fans that fill a sold-out CenturyLink Field (67,000).
- The 747-8 can cover the length of a football field in one second at takeoff
- Seahawks fans at CenturyLink are louder than a 747-8 at takeoff.