Boeing has completed the initial airworthiness testing on the 747-8 Freighter. This will allow Boeing test engineers to be on board during future flights and also brings the remaining two 747-8F test airplanes into the flight test programme.
Since its first flight in early February, the 747-8F test plane has conducted 13 flights totalling 33 flying hours with five pilots who have taken the airplane to an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 m) and a speed of Mach 0.65.
The addition of the other two airplanes will allow the test program significant ramp up. The 747-8 Freighter test program will conduct about 3,700 hours of testing using the three test airplanes, allowing Boeing to meet its planned delivery goal of fourth quarter 2010.
In the weeks ahead Boeing will expand the flight envelope taking the 747-8 Freighter to altitudes above 43,000 feet (13,106 m) and a speed of Mach 0.97, and then push the airplane beyond expected operational conditions.
Of the 108 orders Boeing has secured for the 747-8, 76 are for freighter version with customers like Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air.