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747-8I four-month flight test campaign slated for March kickoff

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NBAA10-Header-FINAL.jpg 747-8I-FBJ_1000.jpgATLANTA -- With structural sections coming together in Everett for RC001, Boeing's first 747-8I is destined to be the biggest BBJ yet, with its first flight slated for the end of the first quarter 2011, kicking off a fourth month certification campaign.

The flight test program marks the first time in Boeing's history that a lead flight test aircraft is slated to begin its service life as VIP configured aircraft.

"It's pretty exciting for us in our little BBJ world to have the first airplane to be going through the manufacturing process," says Steve Taylor, Boeing Business Jets president.

Taylor says the four-month certification process is "not all that dramatic, it's two airplanes. One of them is a Lufthansa airplane and one of them is our VIP airplane. It's a very short flight test program because virtually all the work is done on the freighter."

Many of the troubles encountered during the development of the 747-8F are expected to be ironed out ahead of testing the 467-seat three-class 747-8I, including the limit cycle oscillation encountered on the Nabtesco-supplied inboard aileron power control unit.

"The aileron actuator that has been giving us fits," says Taylor. "That's the same actuator [on the 747-8I]."

The certification campaign will cover the end of the first quarter and the majority of the second quarter and culminate with first delivery of a refurbished RC001, in green configuration, to an interior completion center, along with four additional VIP -8Is, during a two month period at the end of 2011.

"I lay awake at night trying to figure out how I'm going to deliver five of them in the compressed period we have," says Taylor.

Three more VIP 747-8Is will be delivered in 2012, rounding out the eight aircraft backlog. Lufthansa's first -8I is slated to be handed over to the German flag carrier in early 2012.

Photo Credit Boeing

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