With eight days to go before it internal first flight target, Boeing is spending Saturday conducting the flight line gauntlet on the first 747-8I, RC001. The flight line gauntlet will see the aircraft running through a closed-loop simulation of its first flight. This latest set of gauntlet tests differs from the previous factory gauntlet as the aircraft will be running fully under its own power generated by its four General Electric GEnx-2B engines. While Boeing has not confirmed a first flight date for the new jumbo, the aircraft continues to track to a March 20 maiden sortie.
UPDATE 12:42 PST: The flight light gauntlet is continuing today in Everett as pilots and flight test crews evaluate the aircraft's response to the external closed-loop simulation. As a point of comparison, ZA001's intermediate gauntlet lasted eight days, though the extended checkout consolidated the intermediate and parts of the final gauntlet tests on the new aircraft.
Boeing has not provided an official confirmation that RC001's flight line gauntlet is underway.