The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental on Monday successfully commenced its flight test programme. The 747-8 Intercontinental’s first flight marks the beginning of a flight test programme that is scheduled to finish in the fourth quarter.
“What a great privilege to be at the controls of such a great airplane on its first flight,” said 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein. “And what an honour to share this day with the thousands of men and women who designed and built this airplane.”
The first test flight was the first of more than 600 flight hours in the test programme for the new 747-8 Intercontinental. The airplane followed a route over Eastern Washington, where it underwent tests for basic handling and performance. The airplane reached a cruising altitude of 19,000 feet (5,791 meters), and a speed of up to 250 knots, or about 288 miles per hour (463 kilometers).
“This 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, Vice President and General Manager of the 747-8 programme. “I want to thank everybody who had a hand in designing, building and preparing this airplane for flight – our engineers, our manufacturing employees, our colleagues in Boeing Fabrication, our colleagues in Boeing Test & Evaluation, our external suppliers – for all their hard work.”
The 747-8 Intercontinental will have 12% lower seat-mile costs than its predecessor, the 747-400. The airplane also provides 16% better fuel economy, 16% less carbon emissions per passenger and generates a 30% smaller noise footprint than the 747-400.
The 747-8 Intercontinental applies interior features from the 787 Dreamliner that includes a new curved, upswept architecture giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings.
Korean Air and VIP customers have joined launch customer Lufthansa in ordering a total of 33 747-8 Intercontinentals. First delivery of the 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled for the fourth quarter. Air China also has agreed to order five Intercontinentals, pending government approval.