The new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental passenger jet has taken off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington on its first flight.
Boeing’s new jumbo – the longest and heaviest passenger jet the company has ever produced – took off at 9:58:41 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on March 20, using the flight number Boeing 008 Heavy.
The aircraft took off after a take-off roll of just over 20 seconds and its speed at rotation is estimated by Boeing test pilots to have been approximately 170 knots (195.6mph).
Despite the aircraft’s high rotation speed – needed because the aircraft was nearly at maximum landing weight for its first flight, according to Boeing commentators describing the first flight for the company’s official streaming, live webcast of the take-off – the 747-8 Intercontinental was noticeably very quiet during the take-off roll.
In addition to the 747-8I’s improved aerodynamic design compared with earlier 747 models, much of the credit for the aircraft’s environmental quietness is due to its General Electric GEnx-2B67 engines, each capable of delivering 67,000lb (298 kilonewtons) of take-off thrust. The GEnx is a new engine which was designed for both the 747-8 and the Boeing 787.
The manufacturer’s latest plans for the first flight of the 747-8I call for the aircraft to land at Boeing Field near downtown Seattle some 40 miles away from Paine Field at 2:00 p.m. PDT. If Boeing sticks to this plan, this should mean the 747-8I achieving a 4 hour 1 minute first flight.
Captain Mark Feuerstein, the 747 chief project pilot, is captaining the flight, with Boeing test flight captain Paul Stemer in the right-hand seat as first officer.
Boeing employees and hundreds of media from the U.S. and other countries were on hand for the event and media have been invited to Boeing Field to watch the aircraft land and attend a post-first-flight press conference.