Boeing’s 747-8I takes to the skies

Boeing began flight-testing its 747-8 Intercontinental on 20 March, with the new jetliner’s first flight taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, before an audience of thousands of employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders. The aircraft landed four hours and 25 minutes later at Boeing Field in Seattle. The aircraft will now embark on a flight-test programme scheduled to finish in the fourth quarter, including more than 600 flight hours.

4th Apr 2011


 General News

Boeing’s 747-8I takes to the skies

Boeing began flight-testing its 747-8 Intercontinental on 20 March, with the new jetliner’s first flight taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, before an audience of thousands of employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders.
The aircraft landed four hours and 25 minutes later at Boeing Field in Seattle. The aircraft will now embark on a flight-test programme scheduled to finish in the fourth quarter, including more than 600 flight hours.
The newest, and probably last, development of Boeing’s four-decades old 747 programme was flown by 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein and Capt Paul Stemer. The aircraft followed a route over Eastern Washington, where it underwent tests for basic handling and performance, reaching a cruising altitude of 19,000ft (5,791m) and a speed of up to 250 knots (463kmh).
“This is a great day for the 747-8 team and for all of Boeing. What an honour it is to see such a beautiful airplane fly," said Elizabeth Lund, the company’s vice-president and general manager of the 747-8 programme.
Boeing claims the 747-8I will have “the lowest seat-mile cost of any large commercial jetliner, with 12 percent lower costs than its predecessor, the 747-400”. The airplane is also expected to offer a 16 percent improvement in fuel economy, generating 16 percent less carbon emissions per passenger and a 30 percent smaller noise footprint.
The cabin interior borrows many features from Boeing’s 787 ‘Dreamliner’, including a curved, upswept architecture to give passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort while adding more room for cabin baggage.
The manufacturer has so far gathered a total of 33 orders for the aircraft, from launch customer Lufthansa, Korean Air and various VIP customers. Air China also has agreed to order five of the airliners, pending government approval. First delivery is scheduled for the fourth quarter.
The aircraft is painted in a new ‘Sunrise’ livery of red-orange, which is a significant departure from Boeing's standard blue. The manufacturer says the colours were chosen as an acknowledgement of “many key Boeing customers whose cultures recognize these colours as symbols of prosperity and good luck” – taken to be a reference to customers in Asia and the Middle East.
The Sunrise livery only will appear on the first aircraft, which is scheduled to be delivered to a VIP customer at the end of the year.

 

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