Boeing has announced the culmination of its 747-8 freighter certification flight test program. With the first of these aircraft scheduled for delivery in September — pending certification from the Federal Aviation Administration — Boeing officials said this achievement is integral to the worldwide deployment of the freighters.
Since its maiden voyage on Feb. 8, 2010, the 747-8F has logged more than 3,400 hours and been flown more than 1,200 times. Boeing utilized a fleet of five aircraft to perform each flight test, enabling the aircraft manufacturer to collect data necessary for fulfilling the FAA’s more than 1,700 certification requirements.
What’s more, company spokespeople said, Boeing examined how these planes would operate in atypical situations. The examination period then culminated in functional and reliability testing, a stage in which an aircraft must accumulate 300 FAA-approved flight hours in its final form.
747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein endorses this approach wholeheartedly, asserting that the aircraft is ready for universal deployment. “My team and I had the pleasure of spending hundreds of hours in these airplanes,” he said in a statement. “We can truly say this airplane is a joy to fly, and our customers are going to love it. It flies like a 747, but one from the 21st century.”
Cargolux will serve as the launch customer for this aircraft.
In related news, GE Capital Aviation Services has finalized its order of two 747-8s and eight 777-300ERs from Boeing. The order, was initially announced during the Paris Air Show in June, is valued at $2.9 billion.