Over the past few months, there has been a lot of attention around the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. I wanted to wrap it all up with a conclusion of the first flight and links to all the interesting events since the start of assembling the first 747-8I in May 2010.
Yesterday, the 747-8I took off for the first time just before 10am from Paine Field with chief 747-8 test pilot Captain Mark Feuerstein at the controls and Captain Paul Stemer to his side. During the flight, the airplane reached about 19,000 feet and flew up to 250kts (288mph). After almost four and a half hours, the 747-8I successfully landed at Boeing Field to a cheering crowd.
Once landed, the plane taxied and waited for all the media to move to a white tent before being towed up closer. Stairs were brought out and the two smiling pilots were greeted by their families and Boeing executives.
“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.”
While parked right outside the media tent, the blue initials “JFS” became quite noticeable. These initials are for Joe Frederick Sutter who is considered by many to be the father of the original Boeing 747 program. He was present for the event and today is actually celebrating his 90th birthday (Happy Birthday Joe!).
There will be two Boeing 747-8I’s completing 600 test hours before being certified for delivery. Boeing is expecting to deliver their first Boeing 747-8 Freighter by the end of the summer and the first Intercontinental by the end of 2011.
The excitement of the first flights for the 787 Dreamliner, 747-8 Freighter and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental is now completed. Now we wait for the first deliveries and watch closely as Bombardier works on their new C-series and Airbus completes the A350. In this business, the excitement never seems to end!
A look back at my blogs on the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (dates are when the stories were posted):
* May 11, 2010: Boeing starts the assembly of the first 747-8 Intercontinental
* June 15, 2010: The assembly of the fuselage begins
* October 21, 2010: Video of the 747-8I being put together
* November 1, 2010: Video of the 747-8I being moved to final assembly position
* January 16, 2011: First simulated flight for the Intercontinental
* February 02, 2011: She is seen outside without paint for the first
* February 12, 2011: The 747-8I gets all wrapped up to hide the livery and media gets to see the first Lufthansa 747-8
* February 13, 2011: Video and photos/write up for the 747-8 unveiling
* February 23, 2011: Photo of the Intercontinental in the snow
* March 14th, 2011: Interior tour of the Boeing 747-8I
* March 20th, 2011: Photos and video of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental’s first flight and first landing