Just after 12.00 engines are shown starting up on RC501 as the persistent cloud cover finally melted away and sunshine shone down on Paine Field (All photos Guy Norris other than indicated)
Resembling a large ocean-going liner, the 250-ft long 747-8F eases past our viewing position on the berm and out to the holding position for runway 34L.
The sheer size of the stretched airframe becomes apparent as RC501 trundles along taxiway alpha.
Rotating at around 152kt, the 747-8F becomes airborne just past the 4,000-ft marker on Paine Field’s 9,010-ft long runway 16R-34L.
Climbing towards Bellingham, Washington, the 747-8F was then flown around the Puget Sound and Olympics encompassing Whidbey and Tatoosh Islands, and the city of Sequim on the north part of the peninsula.
Air-to-air photos were captured by the Boeing chase aircraft, including T-33s and a T-38. (Boeing)
Landing to the south, the crew added in 5 extra knots for safety and used a Vref (reference landing speed) of 151 kt.
On the landing roll out the crew used manual speed brakes, idle thrust reverse and an autobrake 2 setting.
The crew is greeted by Boeing management with 747 VP and GM Mo Yahyavi leading the way.
A wonderful moment for Joe Sutter (nearest camera), the ‘father of the 747’ as he stands in front of RC501 almost exactly 41 years to the day after the first flight of his baby, RA001. To his right are 747 chief pilot Mark Feuerstein, 747 senior test pilot Tom Imrich and Mo Yahyavi. Looking on from the aircraft steps behind are Boeing Commercial president and CEO Jim Albaugh, and Airplane Programs VP and GM Pat Shanahan.
Looking relaxed after a long day, Mark Feuerstein and Tom Imrich sit down for the post-flight press conference.