The Boeing (NYSE: BA) 747-8 Freighter successfully took to the sky for the first time today before more than 5, 000 employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders. The flight begins a test program for the world’s most efficient freighter.
Under the control of 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein and Capt. Tom Imrich, the new aircraft took off at 12:39 p.m. local time from Paine Field in Everett and landed at Paine Field at 4:18 p.m.
“It was a real privilege to be at the controls of this great airplane on its first flight, representing the thousands of folks who made today possible, ” said Feuerstein. “The airplane performed as expected and handled just like a 747-400.”
Today’s flight was the first of more than 1, 600 flight hours in the test program. The airplane followed a route over Western Washington, where it underwent tests for basic handling qualities and engine performance. The airplane reached a cruising altitude of 17, 000 feet (5, 181 m) and a speed of up to 230 knots, or about 264 miles (426 km) per hour.