One day before the forty-first anniversary of the first flight of the 747-100, the latest iteration of Boeing's jumbo jet is set to take to the skies for the first time on its maiden sortie.
The first flight window opens on February 8, 2009 at 1000 AM PT (1800 GMT) and will see the aircraft - designated RC501 - take off from runway 34L at Paine Field at Boeing's Everett, Washington facility.
The flight, unlike the 787, will return to Everett after Mark Feuerstein and Tom Imrich spend three to five hours flying over Washington. During the initial airworthiness trials, the aircraft will be based at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, then will transfer to Palmdale, California when RC521 and RC522 start flying.
That being said, as I write this I'm still in Southeast Asia due to be back in Washington, DC (via London) on Saturday afternoon. Though Mother Nature could not care less about my travel arrangements and plans to deliver 12-20 inches of snow to the DC area on Friday and Saturday making my East Coast return a pretty big open question. I'm currently trying to establish the best (time and cost effective) route to Seattle that may have to bypass DC altogether. Needless to say, it's a question that needs to be answered shortly.