Boeing has powered on its first 747-8 freighter, beginning the process of preparing the company's newest jumbo jet for its flight test programme.
The 1420th 747, designated RC501, was powered on in the early morning hours of 14 August at the company's Everett, Washington facility.
The milestone also marked the first time that the new 747 variant has rolled on its own wheels from the final body join position to the systems integration slant position.
Commencement of power on testing marks the beginning of the sequential activation of the 747-8F systems. The first typically activated is the electrical systems that feed power throughout the aircraft. Boeing says that pneumatic and hydraulic power activation are expected to follow shortly.
Boeing expects the new freighter to roll out of the factory to the paint hangar late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter before making its maiden flight before year-end.
RC501 is the first of three 747-8F aircraft supporting certification efforts concluding with the new type entering service with Cargolux in the third quarter of 2010.
Boeing holds orders for 78 747-8F aircraft from nine customers.