Boeing announced on March 11 that the 747-8 Freighter has achieved initial airworthiness, allowing test flights to operate with engineers on board, and clears the way for the second two test 747-8s to fly.
“This is a critical milestone in our test and certification plan,” said Andy Hammer, test program manager for the 747-8. “With the addition of the other two airplanes in the near future, the test program will ramp up significantly. We will expand the flight envelope and demonstrate the airplane’s capabilities.”
Since the first flight of the first 747-8F, MSN RC501, in early February, the program has conducted 13 flights, achieving an altitude of 30,000ft and a speed of Mach 0.65 over approximately 33 hours of flying. Initial stall tests and other dynamic manoeuvres have been run, as well as an extensive checkout of the airplane’s systems. Five different pilots have flown the aircraft to date.
“The airplane is performing as expected in the initial stages of flight test,” said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 program. “That’s a tribute to the men and women who helped design and build this airplane.”