Boeing is conducting final pre-delivery flight tests of Lufthansa's initial 747-8 Intercontinental, D-ABYA, the first of the model due to be delivered in full passenger configuration. The aircraft is expected to be delivered in March or April and first flew on Feb 9. It is captured here by Joe Walker's camera on Feb 26 at Boeing Field at the start of another test flight.
Testing of Lufthansa's new 747-8 nears completion as Boeing prepares for a busy week. First up is the delivery of the first -8I to a VIP customer followed, at the end of the week, by the handover of the 1,000th 777 (a 777-300ER to Emirates).
Lufthansa became launch customer for the passenger model of the stretched 747-8 in December 2006 with orders for 20. The airline originally expected to receive Yankee Alpha in 2010, but well-documented production and development issues have delayed delivery to early this year. This is not the first 747 registered D-ABYA to be delivered to Lufthansa - the original was the airline's first 747-130 - handed over amid much celebration in October 1970. That 'Yankee Alpha' went on to have a long career with eight other operators, including a spell as one of Braniff Airways famous 'Big Orange's', before eventually seeing out its days with Tower Air. It was finally scrapped in New York in 2001. All being well, perhaps this particular Yankee Alpha will also be plying its trade 30 years hence - in 2042!