Aviation News

March 20, 2011

Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Lands Safely, Completing First Test Flight

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By: Nate Strong
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SEATTLE, Wash. – The 747-8 Intercontinental touched down safely at Boeing Field (KBFI) on Sunday after a successful four and a half-hour first flight.

Reversers deployed and flaps fully extended for 747-8Is first landing at Boeing Field Seattle

Reversers deployed and flaps fully extended for 747-8I's first landing. (Photo by Tad Carlson)

Boeing’s latest plane rolled to a stop in front of gathered media and VIPs at the historic airport in south Seattle. Mark Feuerstein, Chief Test Pilot for the 747 program said, “It was a great flight. Hard to beat the weather we had today – in fact I’m still a little surprised it worked out the way it did. The airplane was ready, the weather was ready…and a lot of people…put a lot of work into making this airplane what it is.”

Now that it has completed its first flight, the 747-8I will undergo a 600 hour test program to prepare it for certification by the Federal Aviation Administration. Feuerstein stated he would be flying the aircraft later this week. The chief test pilot also informed the gathered crowd that the next 747-8I would be completed “within a couple of weeks.” Once the testing process has been completed, Boeing will start producing 747-8I’s in its Everett, Wash. factory.

Feuerstein noted that, while the flight today was planned as routine flying, they were able to test systems not normally tested on first flights. “This is a testament to how prepared the airplane was,” stated Feuerstein. Some of the tests that were not originally planned were directional stability tests and stall tests. “The airplane is actually ready to go fly right now,” said Feuerstein.

The 747-8I, which is the longest passenger aircraft in the world, has garnered only 33 orders as of February 2010, according to Boeing. Elizabeth Lund, Vice President and General Manager of the 747 program said “[the 747-8I is going to be a fantastic airplane. It flies further, it flies faster, it’s more economical, and it carries more passengers than ever before.” Boeing has previously stated they believe sales will pick up when airlines see the benefits of the 787 program, which utilizes similar technologies.

NYCAviation correspondents Tad Carlson, Andy Bokanev and Brandon Farris contributed to this report.