Boeing has completed first engine runs on its 747-8 Freighter as the aircraft moves closer to its first flight early next year.

Boeing's first 747-8F - designated RC501 - started its General Electric GEnx-2B engines just before 1800 GMT (1000 PT) on 8 December at the company's Everett, Washington facility.

"We are very pleased with the engines' performance during this test," said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 programme. "The engines and all the systems performed as expected."

The aircraft was operating on its auxiliary power unit before starting the first of four engines. Once started, the remaining three engines were started using the cross-bleed function, says Boeing.

The GEnx-2B is part of the same family of engines that powers the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The two engines have about 80% commonality, the main difference being that the -2B engine is a bleed-air system, where as the -1B found on the 787 is bleedless, featuring an electric architecture that draws electricity to directly power aircraft systems.

During the tests, the engines were run at various power settings for basic systems checks. After being powered down, the engines were inspected and will be restarted following a technical review. Boeing also competed a vibration check and monitored the shutdown logic to ensure it functioned as planned.

First flight of RC501 is currently planned for early next year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news