New Boeing completes maiden flight

Boeing Co’s giant 747-8 freighter – the biggest plane the company ever built - successfully completed its first flight, a year later than originally planned.

Boeing Co’s giant 747-8 freighter – the biggest plane the company ever built - successfully completed its first flight, a year later than originally planned.

The huge plane took off from Everett’s Paine Field and returned to Paine after an approximately three-and-a-half-hour flight.

Boeing estimated that more than 5,000 employees, customers, suppliers and other airplane fans gathered to watch the plane take to the air.

The flight came just one day short of the 41st anniversary of the first flight of the original 747 model.

At 250 feet long – more than twice the length of the Wright Brothers’ first flight – the plane is about 18 feet longer than the existing 747-400 jumbo jet. The company conducted taxi tests on the freighter on Saturday, with the aircraft performing well, Boeing said.

“The airplane performed as expected and handled just like a 747-400,” said 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein, who was joined on the flight deck by Captain Tom Imrich.

The flight around western Washington state began a testing programme that will involve more than 1,600 flight hours.

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