Boeing 747-8 Freighter Achieves Initial Airworthiness Milestone

 - March 11, 2010, 4:46 AM

Boeing has finished initial airworthiness testing on the 747-8 Freighter, the company announced today. The milestone allows test engineers to fly aboard future flights and the remaining pair of test airplanes to begin flight test.

“The airplane is performing as expected in the initial stages of flight test,” said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and 747 program general managerfor Boeing Commercial Airplanes . “That’s a tribute to the men and women who helped design and build this airplane.”

Since its first flight in early February, the first 747-8 prototype has flown some 33 hours during 13 test missions. Test pilots have taken the airplane to an altitude of 30,000 feet and a speed of Mach 0.65. They have also run initial stall tests and other dynamic maneuvers, along with an extensive check of the airplane’s systems. Five different pilots have flown the newest Boeing freighter.

The 747-8 Freighter test program calls for approximately 3,700 hours of flight testing using three test airplanes. Subsequent flights will push the airplanes beyond expected operational conditions. In the weeks ahead, Boeing expects the 747-8 Freighter to reach an altitude of more than 43,000 feet and a speed of Mach 0.97.

Boeing plans to deliver the first airplane to launch customer Cargolux during the fourth quarter. It has secured 108 orders for the 747-8, including 76 for the new freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have placed orders for 747-8 Freighters.