Just last month the all-new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental embarked on its maiden test voyage from Paine Field in Everett, Washington and with it, a legacy that started 42 years ago entered another chapter of its storied life. The 747 is a modern-day icon, representing a crux of engineering, design and ambition — maybe even more pervasive than its other state reps, Starbucks and Microsoft. To us, the draw of seeing or boarding a 747 never grows old, harkening to a bygone era in flying and international travel.

The latest 747 may carry the same instantly-recognizable humped profile and street name, but look closely and you’ll find this is much more than a new version, more akin with its already fabled (and much delayed) 787 Dreamliner. So, what does a “dash 8″ mean to a flying behemoth? It’s time for a breakdown (and gallery) after the jump.

A. Wing Tips: A dramatic advanced raked wing tip helps reduce aerodynamic drag along with an advanced supercritical airfoil for improved high speed efficiency. There are even new Kreueger Flaps and fly-by-wire mechanics. Wingspan? A cool 225 ft 7″ span.
B. More People, More Awesome: The 747-8 boasts an increase of 51 more passengers (more people = lower operating costs). An all new interior provides a host of new features similar to that of the 787 Dreamliner. A new sweeping staircase to the upper deck, all-LED lighting, new interior designs, bigger windows and a 10-bunk cabin crew area, amongst many others.
C. New Rims: All-new landing gear — one of the most complex and important parts of a plane — brings new wheels, tires and brakes.
D. Generation X: General Electric GEnx 2B Engines provide a whopping 67,500 pounds of thrust (each) in a more compact, fuel-efficient and reliable design. They’re also more green with reduced carbon emissions and can propel the 747-8 to Mach 0.855.
E. Skin Care: Beneath that snappy paint job lies better materials like carbon composites, advanced aluminum alloys and even titanium.
F. Technologic: A flight deck smart enough to put a Cray to shame provides 100% digital operation with advanced controls, safety features and capabilities.