Boeing has outlined details of the 747-8F flight test campaign that is due to start early this year after a long delay.
Three aircraft will complete a total of 3,700h of testing, consisting of 1,600h of flight tests and 2,100h of ground tests, says Mohammad "Mo" Yahyavi, 747 VP and general manager.
The flight test fleet for the 747-8F will consist of fully instrumented aircraft designated RC501, RC521 and RC522.
RC501 has been on the flight line since 18 November undergoing functional tests, while RC521 departed the factory on 6 January and moved to the paint hangar on 9 January. RC522 is undergoing factory completion at the second slant position on the 747 final assembly line.
The 747-8F flight test programme will begin at Paine Field, site of the company's final assembly facility where first flight of each test aircraft will take place. Because the 747 and 787 test programmes are running concurrently, Boeing opted to decouple the 747's certification campaign to ensure dedicated resources were available to both certification campaigns, says Yahyavi.