|New and Notable|
747-400ER 'handles beautifully'
After initial flight, first delivery due in October
The newest member of the 747 family, the 747-400ER (extended range), took to the skies over Washington State July 31 on its first flight. Chief Pilot Joe MacDonald said the airplane "handled beautifully" during a flight that lasted almost three hours.
"It was a perfect day for a first flight," MacDonald said. "Qantas and our other customers are going to love this airplane."
MacDonald and Assistant Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein left Everett, Wash., at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, flew west over the Olympic Peninsula and then east of the Cascade Mountains, where they performed one "touch-and-go" landing and three "full-stops" at Moses Lake, Wash. The pilots tested the airplane's systems flying as high as 39,000 feet and as fast as Mach 0.92 before landing at Boeing Field in Seattle at 12:52 p.m.
Since that flight, Boeing pilots and test crews have put the airplane through "flutter" tests and other flight tests in the air as well as wet runway tests at Roswell, N.M., and maximum-energy brake tests at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on the ground.
The first 747-400ER will be delivered to launch customer Qantas Airways in October.
Also, the first 747-400ER Freighter is scheduled for rollout from Everett this month. It is designed to provide greater range or carry more payload. Following flight test and certification, it will be delivered to launch customer International Lease Finance Corp. in October. The airplane will be leased to and operated by Air France.
Boeing 747 freighters form the backbone of the world's air cargo system. By themselves, 747s carry nearly half of all the world's air cargo.
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