B747-8 Intercontinental Conducts Successful First Flight
Boeing's maxxed-out 747-8 Intercontinental successfully began
its flight test program Sunday, taking off from Paine Field in
Everett, WA, before several thousand employees, customers,
suppliers and community leaders. The airplane landed four hours and
25 minutes later at Boeing Field in Seattle. The 747-8
Intercontinental's first flight marks the beginning of a flight
test program that will finish in the fourth quarter. With 747 Chief
Pilot Mark Feuerstein and Capt. Paul Stemer at the controls, the
newest member of the 747 family took off at 9:59 a.m. and landed at
2:24 p.m. local time.
"What a great privilege to be at the controls of such a great
airplane on its first flight," said Feuerstein. "And what an honor
to share this day with the thousands of men and women who designed
and built this airplane."
Today's flight was the first of more than 600 flight hours in
the test program for the new 747-8 Intercontinental. The airplane
followed a route over Eastern Washington, where it underwent tests
for basic handling and performance. The airplane reached a cruising
altitude of 19,000 feet, and a speed of up to 250 knots.
"This a great day for the 747-8 team and for all of Boeing. What
an honor it is to see such a beautiful airplane fly," said
Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager of the 747-8
program. "I want to thank everybody who had a hand in designing,
building and preparing this airplane for flight – our
engineers, our manufacturing employees, our colleagues in Boeing
Fabrication, our colleagues in Boeing Test & Evaluation, our
external suppliers – for all their hard work."
The 747-8 Intercontinental will have the lowest seat-mile cost
of any large commercial jetliner, with 12 percent lower costs than
its predecessor, the 747-400. The airplane provides 16 percent
better fuel economy, 16 percent less carbon emissions per passenger
and generates a 30 percent smaller noise footprint than the
747-400. The 747-8 Intercontinental applies interior features from
the 787 Dreamliner that includes a new curved, upswept architecture
giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while
adding more room for personal belongings.
Korean Air and VIP customers have joined launch customer
Lufthansa in ordering a total of 33 747-8 Intercontinentals. First
delivery of the 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled for the fourth
quarter. Air China also has agreed to order five Intercontinentals,
pending government approval.
The airplane is painted in a new Sunrise livery of red-orange
and is a significant departure from Boeing's standard blue. The new
colors honor many key Boeing customers whose cultures recognize
these colors as symbols of prosperity and good luck.
The Sunrise livery only will appear on the first 747-8
Intercontinental, which is scheduled to be delivered to a VIP
customer at the end of the year.