Expanding the envelope

In a season of first flights, we’ve had three this week, as the 2nd and 3rd 747-8 Freighters took to the air in addition to a 4th Dreamliner.


RC 521, our 3rd 747-8 Freighter flight test airplane, in the air over the Pacific Northwest during its first flight on Wednesday.

With Wednesday’s successful flight of the 3rd 747-8, we now have all three 747-8 flight test airplanes in the program.

RC 521 is the final 747-8 Freighter test airplane scheduled to participate.

Piloted by Captains Paul Stemer and Keith Otsuka, with Ralph Chaffin serving as systems operator, RC 521 took off from Paine Field in Everett, and completed a 2.5 hour flight before landing at Boeing Field in Seattle in some late afternoon sunshine. You can find video of the takeoff here.

The airplane reached 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) and an airspeed of 245 knots, or about 282 miles per hour (454 kilometers per hour).


Sunday’s takeoff for RC 522, the 2nd 747-8 flight test airplane.

And then of course, last Sunday, we had a somewhat unique day of flying. Not only did the 787 Dreamliner ZA003 fly for the first time, we also saw the 2nd 747-8 Freighter, RC 522, successfully completing its first flight on the same day.

RC 522 flew a 2.5 hour mission which took it from Paine Field to Boeing Field. Captain Kirk Vining was at the controls for that flight, with Rick Braun at co-pilot and Joel Conard as systems operator.

This first flight for the 2nd 747-8 went to 27,000 feet (8,230 m) and 240 knots, or about 276 miles (444 km) per hour.

Each of the airplanes is intended for specific set of tests. For instance RC 522 will focus on community noise, environmental control systems and extended operation performance standards. From Boeing Field, RC 522 will transition to Palmdale.

Comments (5)

F. Lambert:


It sure would be nice to have a 747-8 flight test webpage similar to the 787!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Congrats on the three the 747-8 test models, I can't wait to see number four!.

Mike Piccardo (Sunnyvale, CA):

What 787 test aircraft will have the GE engines installed instead of the Rolls Royce engines and when is first flight scheduled?

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):


Ruben (Melbourne, Australia):

I love Boeing! I love the 747-8 and the 787. I'm really excited to see them both entering service soon!

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