“Super” news for the 747-8F

Does anyone remember 37564?

That’s the msn of an early-build 747-8 Freighter, originally one of twelve ordered by Atlas Air Worldwide holdings. But Atlas exercised a contractual right to cancel the first three of those orders, and for some time the three freighters sat as whitetails.

Two of the three were eventually sold to an “unidentified customer” and are now being operated by Saudia Cargo, but the third remained an orphan – all white except for Atlas livery on its rudder. However, in late October it appeared sporting fresh blue paint on its nacelles – Atlas blue? Silk Way blue?. No announcement was made about a customer, but the fresh paint suggested that something was in the works.

And today, with the countdown to Super Bowl Sunday at “SB minus 4 and counting,” we find out that no, it wasn’t Atlas blue, nor Silk Way blue, but in fact Seahawks blue! Yes, Boeing’s hometown team, the Seattle Seahawks, will be playing in the Super Bowl this weekend, and Boeing, as a team sponsor, did a little work in the paint shop to show its support.

Now, we should probably pause here, because while painting an aircraft in the livery of a sports team is not new, or unique to the US, the significance of the number on the tail may need some explanation to those of our readers who reside in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. We all have our favorite sports, and we can all sit down over a pint or two and argue about the merits of football vs football, cricket vs baseball, hockey vs just about anything, and so on. but on thing is inarguable: the loudest sports venue in the world is the Seattle Seahawks’ football stadium. The acoustics of the place, and the passion of the local fans, are such that the noise goes beyond mere “noise” and actually registers on local seismometers as an earthquake event of between 1 and 2 on the Richter scale. (Consult the Guinness Book of Records if you don’t believe me.)

What does that have to do with the “12” painted on the tail? Well, in US football, each team can have only 11 players on the field. But the noise generated by the Seattle fans when the opposing team is trying to play has such an effect that throughout the country it is generally accepted that the Seahawks are allowed to play with a “twelfth man.” (The entire city sometimes seems draped with flags and banner displaying only that one number.) And I suspect that when the 68,000 people that pack the Seahawks’ home field on game day are cheering, you could probably fly that 747-8F right over the field and no one would hear it.

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7 Comments

  1. David … you and the neighborhood airplane assembler are way way too far invested into this “12”thing.  If you have to explain it to the length that you did you know it is going to be lost on your European audience. 

    In any case … Go Broncos!  Peyton rules!

  2. davidharris says:

     “The sports team from my area is more worthy of blind adoration than the sports team from your area!” 

  3. The question is, will that fine bird fly on Sunday,  high above Met Life Stadium, as Delta had done on many occasion for the Braves and Masters? Either the airframe just painted, and if not who will see it other than the plane spotters, or indeed the real Hawk birds? My money’s on the Seahawks.

  4. @Roy … would be the only way noise from a #12 will get noticed. 

  5. davidharris says:

    It’s flying around the skies above Washington now.

  6. … ahhhh … the game is in New Jersey … this way >>>>

  7. davidharris says:

    Cargo Facts’ creative director and photographer-in-chief Alex Kwanten got a nice shot of the Seahawk 747-8F landing last night. Check it out here.

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