Just two days after it completed flight testing for the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing has received flight certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency for its new 747-8 Freighter aircraft. The announcement, which came today, means Boeing can deliver the first airplane to launch-customer Cargolux early next month for revenue flights.
Also called the 747-8F, the aircraft is the latest generation of Boeing's iconic 747 family, which has been in production under various forms since 1969. Powered by General Electric GEnx-2B engines, the 747-8F is 16 percent longer than its most immediate predecessor, the 747-400, and offers 16 percent more cargo volume. And at 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 meters), it is the world's longest commercial airliner.
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The 747-8F made its first flight on February 8, 2010, just two months after the Dreamliner first took to the skies in late 2009. It then entered 3,400 hours of flight tests, along with ground, part, component, materials, and other testing to obtain certification.
"This is such a great day for everyone on the 747 team," Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement. "Over the last several years, this team has overcome challenge after challenge. Through their hard work and dedication, they have ensured that the 747, the Queen of the Skies, will fly for decades to come."
Boeing has yet to complete flight testing certification for the passenger version of the aircraft, the 747-8 Intercontinental. That airplane was unveiled last February, before taking off for the first time five weeks later on March 20. With a capacity for 450 passengers, the 747-8 Intercontinental is set for delivery to launch-customer Lufthansa later this year.