Boeing confirms start of 747-8F final gauntlet

Boeing confirms that Final Gauntlet tests are currently underway on the first 747-8F, the 1420th 747 built since the program’s inception in 1966.
Designated RC501, the first 747-8F is undergoing a rigorous series of closed loop tests that will trick the new 747 into believing the aircraft is flying to test the response of the systems.
The aircraft is “flying” a standard B1 first flight profile, simulating potential failures that validate the levels of redundancy in the aircraft’s systems.
Mark Feuerstein, chief 747 pilot, is on board the flight deck of RC501 for the test which began this morning and will span roughly 40hr of continuous tests, wrapping up in the morning hours of 23 January.
Feuerstein will be joined by senior test pilot Tom Imrich for the aircraft’s first flight, which is expected early this year.
Following the Final Gauntlet the aircraft will spend about a week in post testing layup as it prepares for taxi tests and formal flight readiness review, as well as issuing of its experimental certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration. 
The milestone comes 40 years to the day after the first commercial service of the 747-100 with Pan American World Airways between John F. Kennedy International Airport and London Heathrow.
In an unrelated story, Boeing says that RC521 – the second 747-8F – will be re-registered after a painting error that assigned the same registration (N747EX) to both the first and second test aircraft.

6 Responses to Boeing confirms start of 747-8F final gauntlet

  1. WorldOJeff January 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    I think it’s absolutely brilliant of them to do the gauntlet testing on the 40th anniversary of first pax flight, which technically pushed back at 1:52 AM on the 22nd.

    And thanks for the clarification on RC502′s wardrobe malfunction, I was struggling to understand how two airframes could wear the same tail number.

  2. wannabe engineer January 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    Boeing should be careful to not change the wrong plane! How will they know?

  3. NickO January 21, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    Not one of the most gripping videos to date.

  4. Leelaw January 22, 2010 at 1:06 am #

    Isn’t there going to be a “roll-out” ceremony before the maiden flight of the 748F? Boeing did throw quite a shindig celebrating the “roll-out” of the 777-300ER (see: http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2002/q4/nr_021114i.html), hardly more of a milestone event than the debut of the 748F. Perhaps the embarrassing 7/8/7 “Potemkin Event” has put them off such ostentatious hoopla?

  5. Anonymous January 22, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Hehehe, well I can tell you that the 747-8F IS empty inside … because it’s a freighter ;-)

    But no, they will not throw a huge celebration. Just a simple press release stating the First Flight window and then the flight itself. Nothing fancy, like the First Flight of the 787.

  6. Belle Blalock January 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    errrr, i just read the article for the bikini pictures…. i mean, i just read the article, were there pictures of hot girls in bikinis???