Boeing’s (Chicago, Seattle, Wichita and Charleston) third 747-8 Freighter, RC 521 (N5017Q), successfully completed its first flight on March 17. It is the final test airplane scheduled to participate in the flight-test program for the 747-8 Freighter.
Piloted by Captains Paul Stemer and Keith Otsuka, with Ralph Chaffin serving as systems operator, RC 521 took off from Paine Field in Everett, WA, completed a two-and-a-half-hour flight and landed at Boeing Field in Seattle. The airplane reached an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 m) and an airspeed of 245 knots, or about 282 miles (454 km) per hour. It took off at 3:27 p.m. PDT and landed at 5:58 p.m.
RC 521 has several tests scheduled in the test program, including fuel-mileage testing. The 747-8 Freighter flight-test program calls for all three airplanes to perform approximately 3,700 hours of testing both on the ground and in the air. The first 747-8 Freighter delivery is planned for the fourth quarter of this year.