Boeing’s new 747-8 takes to the sky

Check out the flight path above for an airliner, from earlier today. Did a pilot get lost?  Or bored?  Nope — It was actually the inaugural flight for Boeing’s newest model 747 aircraft, the 747-8, and the largest passenger aircraft yet for Boeing with up to 467 seats in a three-class configuration.  The flight took off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, adjacent to Boeing’s massive assembly plant.  It landed four-and-a-half hours later at nearby Boeing Field.  In the meantime, the plane underwent operational testing along the crazy spaghetti-shaped pattern shown above.  (View the full stats for Boeing Flight #8 at FlightAware.com here.)  Video of the plane’s take-off is below, courtesy of airlinereporter.com:

Boeing touts the 747-8′s advanced fuel efficiency and economies-of-scale in carrying more passengers than earlier models.  It is meant to rival the fully double-decker Airbus A380, which carries 525 passengers in a three-class configuration.

The 747-8 is scheduled for its first deliveries by the end of the year.  So far, Lufthansa and Korean Air have orders for the new model.

A cargo version of the 747-8 has been undergoing flight testing for six weeks now, and will be delivered to customers beginning this summer.

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