The third Boeing 747-8 Freighter, RC 521, joined the program’s flight-test program yesterday with a successful two-and-a-half-hour maiden mission. Piloted by captains Paul Stemer and Keith Otsuka, the program’s final prototype took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 3:27 p.m. local time and landed at Boeing Field in Seattle at 5:58 p.m. The airplane reached an altitude of 30,000 feet and an airspeed of 245 knots.
RC 521 will perform fuel-mileage testing, among several other tasks, Boeing said in a statement released yesterday. The 747-8 Freighter flight-test program calls for all three airplanes to perform approximately 3,700 hours of ground and flight testing. The program’s second prototype, RC 522, made its maiden mission this past Sunday. The first 747-8F, RC 501, opened the flight-test program with its first flight on February 8.
Boeing plans to deliver the first production 747-8 Freighter to launch customer Cargolux by the end of the year.