Heavy rotation

We like to say all the time how flight testing is about stretching the capabilities of the airplane above and beyond what you’d experience in normal flight operations.

How about taking off weighing more than a million pounds (454,500 kg)?

Check out the video story:

This test flight in Victorville, California for the 747-8 Freighter also happened to set a record for the heaviest takeoff we’ve ever attempted with a Boeing airplane.

Comments (12)

chrisC (San Jose, CA):

AWESOME! Go Boeing!


Congratulations! This is an enormously impressive feat.

Vero Venia (Montreal, Canada):

Weight a minute!

If the MTOW increases to 1,000,500 lbs and if the aircraft is not heavier than the specification and if the performance is as of the specification then the maximum range of the 747-8 Intercontinental will increase to 8,400 nm.

Now, it is possible that you need to increase the design weight (MTOW) to recover some shortfall on performance or on weight.

Here is my entry about the 747-8i

Arash (Tehran ,Iran ):

Fantastic performance and view. She is truly the only queen of he skies ever.


I wish we were able to help to the developing of such things and operate them here.

Chris C (South Africa):

Incredible! This is an amazing feat for the 21st-century 747-8 family.
As highlighted here: http://www.fleetbuzzeditorial.com/2010/08/23/747-8evolution/, all the best for your on-going sales campaigns to sell many more of these highly-efficient 747-8Is and -8Fs. Clearly, Boeing has been “working on a dream” to create the finest 747 in the world, and with the -8 family, the results couldn’t have been any better, period. And, with this weight-record for the 747, I can’t help but think that there may possibly be some hint that a -8ERF may yet follow in the years ahead.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

That's incredible! Reminds me of this story: http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2003/q2/nr_030528g.html, when the Boeing 777-300ER broke the weight record for twin-jet airliners. Of course, the 777-300ER's record breaking MTOW became standard for the type. Hint, hint. :-)

The 747-8F RC521 took-off at just over 100,000 kg more than that first 777-300ER weight record attempt in May 2003. In fact, that difference is the payload of the 777 Freighter.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Congratulations and one added thing; Victorville is also a hot and high environment to add to the equation.

alex (oakland):


I hope Vero is right and the 748i will find more payload or range in its campaign against the A380.

It may also allow customer to add revenue opportunities (such as more seats) using the OSU without sacrificing range.

Can Boeing increase the size of the overhead luggage bins along both sides so that the center overhead luggage bins can be removed to accomodate a bigger OSU?

Chris C (South Africa):

On a related topic, on 27th June 1988, 747-400 N661US broke the 747 maximum take-off weight record at Moses Lake, Washington when it lifted off weighing 404,994kg. At that time, the -400 was limited to a MTOW of 394,545kg (870,000Ibs), so Boeing’s record take-off weight there of nearly 10,500kg above MTOW helped pave the way for the -400 to be offered at over 396,000kg (875,000Ib) MTOW later on, and also created the foundations for the -400ER family. Also, maximum landing weights were also subsequently increased. I can’t help but wonder if the -8 will see similar family progressions as well. It certainly would make sense, especially in the -8F.

Steve (Siggenthal Station, Switzerland):

Pretty amazing, but I had a feeling that you might "find" a bit more performance in this incredible design, and I don't believe this will be the last incident of exceeding the initial specification!

Interesting that we are about 45 years on from a time when one of your previous amazing products (albeit inherited from Rockwell NAA), the XB-70 Bomber, was the first to hit the 1/2 Million lb plus mark (while capable of Mach 3+). And ironically, both the Boeing and NAA submissions for the orignal Air-Force Request for Proposal for that craft, WS-110, were at 1 Million lb takeoff weight, but both were rejected by the Air Force for various pragmatic reasons.


Maybe we'll see the 1.5 Million or 2 Million lb mark hit with a BWB in far less time?

Gareth Richards (Cincinnati, Oh):

Hi Randy

Was that also the heaviest landing of a BCA airplane?

If TOW was 1M lb and the flight was 4 hrs, not much was lost before landing.

Let us know!


Gareth Richards

Mike Martinez (Phoenix Arizona):

An incredible feat...Boeing / GE have once again set a new standard with these amazing aircraft / engines...As an aircraft technician,who has seen & worked on various aircraft from various manufacturers in various stages of their life cycles, I'm confident (as well as many other AMT's,Inspectors,Engineers) that Boeing builds the best aircraft available....The competitors build good products, but they do not measure up to the performance standards ,safety & durability of Boeing/GE/PW products....The Boeing/GE/PW products tend to be much easier to maintain than the competitive products coming from overseas...A huge advantage as far as serviceability is concerned...Go Boeing! Go General Electric! Go Pratt&Whitney!

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