The first Boeing 747-8F is set to continue its initial airworthiness testing after operating its second sortie - a ferry flight to Moses Lake, Washington.
The aircraft (RC501) was expected to take its second flight on 20 February, after 12 days of instrumentation installation that followed its 8 February maiden sortie.
Once RC501 clears its own initial airworthiness, the remaining 747-8F flight-test aircraft RC521 and RC522 will join the programme that comprises 1,600h of flight tests and 2,100h of ground tests. Following airworthiness testing, the fleet will transition to Palmdale, California where the remainder of the certification campaign will be hosted, followed by delivery in the fourth quarter to Cargolux.
Additionally, while grounded following its first flight, Boeing repaired the low-pressure turbine of RC501's number one General Electric GEnx-2B engine, which suffered damage during the first flight. The cause is being investigated, but sources say it is believed to have been caused foreign object debris ingestion.
Meanwhile, aerostructures supplier Vought Aircraft Industries has begun fabrication of frames and floor grids for the first 747-8I passenger variant, which is set to begin final assembly in May ahead of a scheduled first flight early next year.