The first 747-8 Freighter successfully made its first flight on February 8 from Paine Field, albeit after a slight delay due to weather conditions.
Piloted by 747 chief pilot Mark Feuerstein and Captain Tom Inrich, the aircraft took off at 12:39pm local time and underwent a three hour, 39 minute test flight over western Washington, where it underwent tests for basic handling qualities and engine performance. The aircraft reached a cruising altitude of 17,000ft and a speed of up to 230kt.
“It was a real privilege to be at the controls of this great airplane on its first flight, representing the thousands of folks who made today possible,” said Feuerstein. “The airplane performed as expected and handled just like a 747-400.”
“This truly is a great day for The Boeing Company and the 747 program,” said Mo Yahyavi, 747 program general manager and vice president. “It’s the culmination of the hard work and dedication of our employees, suppliers and customers. While there is still much to do, I am excited to begin the flight test program, which will demonstrate the capabilities of this airplane.”
The first 747-8F will be joined over the coming month by two other flight test examples which together will undertake flight and certification testing from Moses Lake in Washington and Palmdale, California, over the next six months. First delivery to launch customer Cargolux is due during the fourth quarter of 2010.