The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental successfully began its flight test program Monday taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington state, before more than several thousand employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders.
The aircraft landed four hours and 25 minutes later at Boeing Field in Seattle. The 747-8 Intercontinental first flight marks the beginning of a flight test program that will finish in the fourth quarter.
With 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein and Capt. Paul Stemer at the controls, the newest member of the 747 family took off at 9:59 a.m. and landed at 2:24 p.m. local time.
What a great privilege to be at the controls of such a great airplane on its first flight, said Feuerstein, and what an honour to share this day with the thousands of men and women who designed and built this airplane.
Monday’s flight was the first of more than 600 flight hours in the test program for the new 747-8 Intercontinental. The airplane reached a cruising altitude of 5,791 meters and a speed of up to 250 knots about 463 kilometres per hour.
According to Boeing the 747-8 Intercontinental will have the lowest seat-mile cost of any large commercial jetliner, with 12% lower costs than its predecessor, the 747-400. The airplane provides 16% better fuel economy, 16% less carbon emissions per passenger and generates a 30% smaller noise footprint than the 747-400.
Korean Air and VIP customers have joined launch customer Lufthansa in ordering a total of 33 747-8 Intercontinental. First delivery of the 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled for the fourth quarter. Air China also has agreed to order five Intercontinental pending government approvals.
The airplane is painted in a new Sunrise livery of red-orange and is a significant departure from Boeing's standard blue. The new colours honour many key Boeing customers whose cultures recognize these colours as symbols of prosperity and good luck.