Boeing’s brand new 747, the 747-8 Intercontinental took off for its maiden flight yesterday at 10 a.m. pacific time from Paine Field just north of Seattle.
After a 4 1/2-hour flight, the new plane, the largest commercial plane Boeing has ever built, landed at Boeing field in Seattle.
Despite numerous delays to the program, Boeing reported that the first flight went extremely well and that the new plane appears poised to jump right into a full testing schedule in order to get certified on schedule.
Capt. Feuerstein said RC001, the first Intercontinental, was in tremendous shape for a new airplane model, allowing him and fellow Boeing Test Pilot Capt. Paul Stemer to perform test conditions normally reserved for later in a flight test program.
“Doing not only the functional tests we often do on a first flight, but we also stepped out and did some important stability and control conditions that we wouldn’t ordinarily do. That’s basically a testament to how prepared the airplane was,” said Capt. Feuerstein.
Despite going through a successful first flight Boeing took no chances with the plane keeping it below 19,000 feet and never accelerating faster than 288 mph as the plane flew around Eastern Washington before returning back to Seattle.
A second plane will join the test fleet and the two will spend the next several months undergoing 600 hours of flight testing as Boeing tries to get the plane certified and delivered to its first customer before years end.
So far, Boeing has 38 orders for the 747-8I with Lufthansa, Korean Air, Air China, and a handful of private buyers placing orders for the plane.