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Second Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental begins flight test

The second Boeing (NYSE: BA) 747-8 Intercontinental, RC021, successfully made its first flight today. The airplane completes the two-airplane test fleet for the 747-8 Intercontinental.

"This is another great milestone for our flight test program and shows the progress we are making toward delivery of our passenger airplane," said Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager, 747 program.

Piloted by Captains Keith Otsuka and Ron Johnston, with Ralph Chaffin serving as system operator and Greg Lichneckert as flight analyst, RC021 took off at 9:26 a.m. Pacific time from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The airplane completed a three-hour, twenty-minute flight landing at 12:46 p.m. at Paine Field. During the flight, the airplane reached an altitude of 28,000 feet (8534 m) and airspeed of 275 knots, or about 316 miles (509 km) per hour.

RC021 will be used primarily for testing the various interior systems that will be on the Intercontinental, such as heating, venting and air conditioning, smoke detection and galleys. In addition, Boeing will conduct fuel consumption and function and reliability tests on the airplane. The 747-8 Intercontinental flight-test program will perform approximately 600 hours of flight testing.

The passenger version of the new 747-8 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.

Press release issued by Boeing Commercial Airplanes on April 26, 2011


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