The first Boeing 747-8 Freighter has broken cover in Everett ahead of its first flight early next year.

The new freighter, for which Dubai Aerospace Enterprise holds orders for 15 aircraft, was towed from the assembly line on 12 November for painting and preparation for flight testing. DAE's 747-8Fs are due to be operated by Emirates SkyCargo.

Cargolux is the first customer due to take delivery of the General Electric GEnx-2B-powered 747-8F, in the fourth quarter of 2010. Deliveries were originally due to start in late 2009, but a series of programme delays have pushed back the schedule. Programme manager Mo Yahyavi says it is rewarding to see the aircraft transition to flight testing.

Boeing 747-8F
 © Boeing

Boeing completed the first three rounds of gauntlet tests for the aircraft on 4-5 November, which entailed ground control and autopilot checks and testing of the flightdeck and power systems.

Phase two gauntlet testing consists of the first start of the four GEnx engines.

Prior to first flight the aircraft will complete low and high-speed taxi testing.

Source: Flight Daily News