Delivery of a modern freighter leads to some interesting history

  • David Harris
  • March 6, 2015
  • 0
Cargolux's "Joe Sutter" 747-8F arrives in Luxembourg.

Cargolux’s “Joe Sutter” 747-8F arrives in Luxembourg.

Yesterday, Luxembourg-based all-cargo carrier Cargolux took delivery of the twelfth of fourteen 747-8 Freighters it has ordered from Boeing.

Normally, that simple sentence above would be the extent of our reporting on the delivery. The 747-8F is no longer new, Cargolux already has eleven, so delivery of a twelfth is not the biggest news story of the day. The fact that this is the carrier’s 30th 747 freighter (of all variants) makes it a bit more interesting, but not a lot.

However, Cargolux has the habit of giving its freighters names, and this one has been given the name “Joe Sutter.” Which, if you don’t know much about aviation history, probably seems odd. Who, you ask, is Joe Sutter, and why would Cargolux name a freighter after him?

A closer look reveals that the full name is “Joe Sutter  – Father of the Boeing 747”. Ah, yes. That Joe Sutter. The lead engineer and project manager for the development of the original 747 in the late 1960s. Which brings us to today’s video…

Joe is still going strong at well over ninety, and when the first 747-8 flew in 2010, he was there. The interview in the video below is particularly interesting, because in it Joe discusses how cargo considerations drove the design of the 747, right from Day One. Also interesting is to hear him discuss how rapidly the new airliner progressed from concept to first flight – done with slide rules and drafting pens in the age before computers.

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