Second flight with a first

I wanted to catch you up on some further flight test developments - namely, that we successfully completed the 2nd test flight of the first 747-8 Freighter earlier in the week.

With Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein and Capt. Tom Imrich at the controls, the flight concluded at Moses Lake - marking the start of the planned transition to remote locations for the 747-8 flight test program.


The 747-8 Freighter makes a turn during first flight on February 8.

This 2nd flight also happened to mark a “first” worth chronicling. Capt. Imrich flew the first GLS approach ever accomplished on a 747 of any type.

GLS (Global positioning Landing System), or more accurately speaking, GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), uses simple ground based augmentation to fine tune signals from navigation satellites – similar to GPS and other systems.   

GLS approach capability is critical to continued improvements in efficient air traffic management and it represents a great advancement in safety and economy over existing approach types - yet pilots can fly it using the same procedures as a common ILS (Instrument Landing System).

Meantime, from this point on, the 747-8 will be based mainly at Moses Lake and in Palmdale, California. As you might remember, we put this plan in place to ease capacity at Boeing Field. This makes better use of our resources while both the 747-8 and 787 are in simultaneous flight test.

Moses Lake testing will focus on flutter and initial airworthiness. At the conclusion of that portion of testing, the program moves down to Palmdale.

We’ll have 3 airplanes in the 747-8 Freighter flight testing – for a total of about 3,700 hours of flight and ground tests.  

Comments (10)

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

In sure the folks at Palmdale will love the see the 747-8 test at their airport, hopefully the 747 will make an appearance at Long Beach where Boeing employees work, LAX or Ontario where it is an hour drive but accessible.

Tom Imrich (Seattle):

The GLS/GBAS performance for that approach was just superb.

Many thanks also to our MMR supplier (the MMR hosts the GLS capability), and the GBAS ground facility supplier at Moses Lake, who each have done a terrific job.

Best Regards,
Tom Imrich

Co-Captain with 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein,
First B747 GLS approach

Mamang tsuper (Tung Chung, Hong Kong):

Wow! MMR and GNSS. Soon pilots will be out of jobs. I bet these planes are also being tested to fly and land without pilot inputs.

Nice pics. HongKong will be a hub for these Queen of the Skies.

Peter Evers (Oldenzaal, The Netherlands. ):

Why has Boeing no "747-8F Queen of the Sky Flight Test"" website, like the current " 787 Dreamliner Flight Test" site.
Then we are able to track accurate the progress on the 747-8 test program.
All the best with the flight testing of this beautifull bird.

Best Regards,

Peter (15048 hrs on the 747, now retired)

Emil M. Hitt (st. louis, Missouri):

As a one Boeing team you need to fly the 787 and 747-8 into St. Louis as soon as possible.

We have teammates here who share the same joy but do not get to see the products like these two new additions to our family.

Hope to see one or both sometime in the future.


Ashley Palmer (Edwards AFB):

Congratulations to the 747-8 team. And congratulations Capt Imrich. I take it that the GLS/GBAS is similar in concept to the WAAS LPV approaches now popular with light aircraft. If so then this will add additional flexibility, safety and precision to operators.

Patrick B (Everett, WA):

Congrats on a fantastic first flight, Tom! Keep up the great work!

Louis (Pax River, Md.):

Do the I.A.M. Folks in Seattle realize that Palmdale is U.A.W. Country? Good Luck.

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

Is there a plan to fly the '8' siblings in formation?
A 748 and 787 gracing the skies above Mt. Rainier together would be great!

Luis Ortega (Madrid,Spain):

I'm a student of the new GLS app. I read carefully your articles.
Under your qualified perspective and the experienced test pilots of Boeing do you think that will be necessary to have an altitude check from FAF to DA(H) in a GLS approach?
If this altitude were 1000 ft AGL will be adequate to enhance situational awareness to the common trained pilots in airliners?.
Is there any special forum to address this type of question? Is there any publication about this single item?

Post a comment

We welcome your comments. However all comments are moderated and may not post immediately. Offensive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not treat any comments you submit as confidential information. Please do not submit comments that contain any confidential information belonging to anyone else.

By submitting a comment to Randy's Journal, you agree to our site terms and privacy policy, and to having your name displayed with your comment. All or part of your comment may be posted or cited in the blog. Your name and personal information will not be used for any other purpose, and we will not publish your e-mail address.


More posts