At first glance, it looks like something a young aviation buff might have created with Etch A Sketch (for those of us who actually remember Etch A Sketch). Using perhaps the most creative flight plan ever drawn up, the 747-8 Freighter successfully completed its certification flight test program early this morning.
A giant 747 marks a milestone flight. Image from FlightAware.
As you can see on this map from FlightAware, one of the two airplanes (RC523) that flew in the final day of flight testing carved a giant 747 across the country as it completed function & reliability (F&R) testing. The flight took the airplane over 15 states and lasted some 17 hours, landing in Everett a few minutes after midnight this morning. Kudos to the Boeing Test and Evaluation team for dreaming this flight plan up that really does take the long way home. It’s a great tribute to the hard work everyone has done to reach this point.
RC523 at Paine Field after completing a 17 hour flight.
Meanwhile, flight test airplane RC522 completed testing of the flight management computer (FMC).
The 747-8 Freighter has flown more than 1,200 flights and 3,400 hours since its first flight in February of 2010. After the FAA certifies the airplane, the first 747-8 Freighter is scheduled to be delivered to launch customer Cargolux in September.
This has been an incredible week for the 747-8 and 787 programs. On back to back days, they both announced important milestones on the way to first delivery. We’re in the home stretch and can’t wait to reach the finish line. Click here to see a video that shows how the 747-8 Freighter got to this point.