AMERICAS: B747-8 Freighter begins California testing

The second Boeing 747-8 Freighter, RC521, landed in Palmdale, California in late April, marking the beginning of a planned transition of 747-8 Freighter testing to Southern California. The more than four-hour flight from Boeing Field in Seattle included testing on avionics and cruise performance. “Taking the airplane to Palmdale is a big step,” said Mo […]


The second Boeing 747-8 Freighter, RC521, landed in Palmdale, California in late April, marking the beginning of a planned transition of 747-8 Freighter testing to Southern California. The more than four-hour flight from Boeing Field in Seattle included testing on avionics and cruise performance.

“Taking the airplane to Palmdale is a big step,” said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 programme. “The team is focused on ensuring a seamless transition into the next phase of the flight-test programme as we prepare to expand testing of the 747-8 Freighter’s performance characteristics.”

The airplane will be stationed in Palmdale for the majority of its scheduled flight-test program. The crew will conduct several tests on the airplane with fuel-mileage and engine-performance testing as key focus areas.

A contingent of employees has been stationed at Palmdale for the testing, including flight-test engineers and the support personnel who prepare the airplane for each day’s flights. In the coming weeks, the two other 747-8 airplanes in the flight-test fleet will join RC521 in Southern California.

The entire flight-test programme calls for the three airplanes to perform a total of about 3,700 hours of ground and air testing. The first 747-8 Freighter delivery to Cargolux is planned for the fourth quarter of this year.