Three months after the 747-8 Freighter wrapped up its certification flight testing by drawing a giant 747 across a map of the U.S., the 747-8 Intercontinental has pulled off a feat of its own. Last week, the crew flew an 18-hour extended operations flight which took the airplane over every state in the lower 48. Click here to see a larger image of the map below.
Our data on a Google Earth map.
Some of you pointed out that this map from our friends at Flight Aware shows we missed West Virginia and Rhode Island. But we’ve double checked our own telemetry to verify that we did indeed pass over all 48. That includes flying into the eastern portion of West Virginia— and grazing the state of Rhode Island with the airplane’s left wing. Now that’s what I call a detailed analysis!
This flight for extended operations, or ETOPS, certification helps determine how far the airplane will be able to travel from a suitable diversion airport. After the Intercontinental returned to Everett, it still had more than two and a half hours worth of fuel left.
There’s one other interesting fact about this flight that I wanted to share. Melanie VanderLugt, a Boeing Test & Evaluation flight test analysis engineer, found a creative way to keep herself busy during the down time. Walking in 15 minute increments, she circled a 225 foot loop around the aft section of the airplane - 310 times. It ended up being a half marathon. Now that’s a flight to remember, one that really has been just about everywhere.