First Boeing 747-8I Completes Flutter and Modal Tests

 - May 16, 2011, 7:35 AM
Boeing 747-8I RC001 recently completed a series of tests to validate airframe changes. (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing’s latest iteration of the 747, the “Dash 8” Intercontinental, recently completed its first series of flight-testing at Moses Lake, Wash., according to company sources.

While at Moses Lake, the first of two 747-8I test aircraft–dubbed RC001–performed a variety of tests, including flutter and modal suppression. The testing conducted at Moses Lake constituted part of the normal flight-test plan, according to Boeing.

 “RC001 performed a variety of tests as part of its normal flight-test program at Moses Lake; testing included flutter and a number of modal suppression tests for ride quality. All conditions were successfully completed,” a Boeing spokeswoman told AIN. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred during testing, she added.

RC001’s flight-test plan addresses handling characteristics that differ from those of the 747-8 Freighter because of the extended upper deck.

“We are on plan with our flight-testing, and future tests include crew-rest-area smoke detection, extended operations and function and reliability testing,” said the Boeing official.

 The second 747-8I flight-test airplane, RC021, flew for the first time on April 26.

Drawing on lessons learned from the 787 Dreamliner program, Boeing expects to cut the Intercontinental’s operating costs by 12 percent compared with its predecessor, the 747-400. The reductions in operating cost come primarily from the airplane’s new GEnx-2B engines and improved fuel efficiency from a new wing design. Boeing launched the Intercontinental as the passenger version of the 747-8 program in 2005. The airframer has since signed agreements with three airlines for the Intercontinental, and sold 79 of its freighter counterpart.