First 747-8 flight is complete

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The largest passenger aircraft in Boeing's 95-year history, the 747-8 Intercontinental, has completed it maiden sortie.

The aircraft - designated RC001 - departed from runway 34L at 9:59PST local time from Boeing's Everett, Washington, facility at Paine Field and landed at 14:25PST at nearby Boeing Field in Seattle, where the company's flight test operations are housed.

During the 4h and 26min flight, the aircraft reached an altitude of 6,096m (20,000ft) and a speed of 250kts (463km/h).

Painted in a bespoke red, orange, gray and white scheme, and powered by four General Electric GEnx-2B engines, the aircraft took to the sky under the control of 747 chief project pilot Capt. Mark Feuerstein and Capt. Paul Stemer.

The first flight of the 747-8I kicks off a 600h-long programme of test flights for the new 747, slated to seat 467 in three-classes. The first of two test aircraft, RC001 is fully instrumented and designed for flutter clearance, flight controls, ride quality, and stability and control evaluations.