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Boeing completes initial 747-8F airworthiness tests

Roughly one month after launching the flight test campaign, Boeing has completed initial airworthiness testing of the 747-8F.

The completion of this first round of flight testing for the company's largest aircraft now permits test engineers to accompany the test pilots on flights.

With the exception of the 8 February first flight, testing of RC501, the first of three test aircraft, has been based out of Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington 230km (143nm) east of Seattle.

"The airplane is performing as expected in the initial stages of flight test," says VP and general manager of the 747 programme Mo Yahyavi.

The two remaining test aircraft - RC521 and RC522 - are now cleared to join the flight test programme, and are expected to make their maiden flights on in mid-March.

Boeing says since the 747-8F's first flight, five pilots have completed 13 flights and 33h of flying. The aircraft has reached an altitude of 30,000ft (9,144M) and a speed of Mach 0.65.

In the weeks ahead, the 747-8F will achieve speeds of Mach 0.97 and an altitude of more than 43,000ft (13,106 m), says Boeing.

First delivery of the 747-8F to Cargolux is expected during the fourth quarter.

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