In the desert

We’ve started the transition of testing for the 747-8 Freighter that we talked about several months ago.

RC521 became the first 747-8 to make the move from Seattle to Southern California this week as we focus on the next phase of flight testing.


RC-521 after completing a more than four hour flight from Boeing Field to Palmdale on Monday.

The airplane will remain on station in Palmdale for most of its flight test program, where the team will be testing fuel mileage and engine performance.

The Southern California desert provides an outstanding flight test facility as well as favorable weather for what we want to achieve for the remainder of the program.


On the steps of the airplane in Palmdale - Paul Stemer, test pilot (left), and Dennis O’Donoghue, vice president, Boeing Test & Evaluation.

The other 2 flight test 747-8 Freighters will be heading to Palmdale as well in the coming weeks, to continue approximately 3,700 hours of testing on the ground and in the air.

Comments (10)

James (Honolulu, Hawaii):

It looks like the 747-8 is smiling! A happy plane, still the Queen of the Skies.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Wow! That is a sweet photo!!! The new engines give it a lot more presence. Good luck with the remainder of the tests - and sales campaigns.

Was/is it windy in Palmdale? Looks like the airspeed cone is at the ten o' clock position, just above the cockpit.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The engines look impressive on the 747-8, glad to see another Boeing test aircraft in Southern California.

Don Miller (Comfort,Texas):

So Randy...having flown the 72,74,75,76 I still love the 74 the what is the meaning of BSW on the nose gear door of the 74 pic with the pilots on the stairs????

Randy Tinseth:

@ Don,

Excellent question. And very observant. The initials stand for Brien S. Wygle, the co-pilot of the original 747 first flight in 1969.

Each 747-8 test airplane has the initials of the original crew. RC501 has Jack Waddell's initials and RC522 has Jess Wallick's initials.

By the way, when I started at Boeing in 1981, Brien Wygle was the V.P. of my organization.

Chris C (South Africa):

The formidable 747-400 is the sweetest airplane that I've ever flown to date, so I've got high expectations about the phenomenal 747-8, and I look forward to flying the -8I or -8F within the next few years. The 747 sure looks mighty impressive with those huge GEnx-2B67s and all them' flaps's a mathematically balanced, beautiful airplane indeed.

Rolf Parks (Chuckanut, Wa ):

Every fine sailboat, aircraft or sports car has there own distinctive look about it. That familiar smile, stance similiar to its 747 legacy. 747-8 has that look of design fit, form, followed by functionality! Its low slung, with that footprint that is truely 747. Its that look that catches the corner of your eye, in your cars rear view mirror! Woow! Looks familiar but different! What was that? Kudo's to the 747-8 Design, Build, Test and Pilot Team! The legacy truly does live on! Kudo's!

Chuck Martin (Palmdale - Site 1 Operations):

Reply to Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Very observant Paulo, yes it was the typical high desert "Breeze". We had about a 25-35 mph easterly that day.

Ankih Fre (seattle wa):

Lets hope the certification goes well. I hope this aircraft will go into service before the 787.

Is the flap buffet problem fixed? It looks like RC521 has its flaps at full(30) on the top picture.

Jouni Maho (Sweden):

(I hope this is an appropriate place to ask this question. I intended to add this as a comment to the blog post about the hump, posted Febr. 3, 2009, but comments are apparently closed on that one. At least this blog post is about the 747.)

I was reading the Wikipedia page for the Boeing 747. It says, or suggests, that the Boeing 747 may be replaced by a new design/line of aircrafts referred to as Y3. I realise the current 747s will continue to adorn our skies for several decades to come, but eventually they will be phased out, it seems, even though it may take several decades before they disappear entirely.

However, what about the hump? Wil the iconic hump disappear, too? Or will there also be a hump on the new Y3 design, or whatever it is that'll replace the 747s?

Personally I'd be very disappointed if *the* most recognisable airplane design would disappear entirely from the skies.

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