Cargo Facts was lucky to recently spy this 747-8F on a test flight into BFI. BFI is being used as one center for the 748 test program, but is being heavily taxed by the 787 test program, so the majority of the test aircraft and actual testing is happening in Victorville and Palmdale, in California (though testing will take the -8F as far afield as La Paz, Bolivia, in the near future), as well as Moses Lake, Wa.
This particular aircraft is the first 748 (RC501 – id: 35808/1420), which first flew on February 8th of this year and has been racking up test hours ever since. That flight was also the first flight to be powered exclusively by the GEnx engines. Unusually, this plane was on the ground at BFI for quite some time before testing resumed last week.
As reported in Cargo Facts, The 747-8 program was granted TIA approval on June 11. Boeing hit the 500 test-hour mark on June 29.
There are now five 748Fs on the flight line at Paine – four of which are not intended for testing. One was seen on the cover of Cargo Facts last month – for Cargolux (l/n 1424, msn: 35807 – the fourth test aircraft and the one which will test in La Paz). Two more are painted in Korean Air livery (l/n 1425 & 1426, msns: 37132/133), the fourth is mostly in green wrap but has Cathay Pacific cargo markings (l/n 1427, msn: 39238), and one devoid of markings but is the first Cargolux production aircraft (l/n 1423, msn: 35806). RC501, seen here, will eventually go to Cargolux.
© Photographer: Alex Kwanten.