The fifth, and final, Boeing 747-8F test aircraft is set to join the certification effort on Feb 3 when it makes its first flight from Everett, Wash. RC523 was added to the program last year as part of Boeing’s recovery plan for the delayed 747-8F, and will supplement a test fleet already expanded to include a fourth aircraft, RC503.
Assuming all goes to plan, RC523 is set to perform a standard Boeing B1 pre-delivery test flight before slotting into the certification program later this month. Testing of an improved inboard aileron actuator power control unit (PCU), which along with a low-frequency vibration in certain flight conditions led to the latest delivery delay, meanwhile continues on RC522 based out of Boeing Field. PCU regression and ice shapes tests have also been undertaken by a sistership, RC521, based out of San Bernardino, Calif. Tests of this aircraft, along with the first 747-8F, RC501, were moved there from nearby Palmdale, because of hangar availability, says Boeing. RC501 has been equipped with pressure belts and is conducting a flight loads survey to measure actual stresses against predicted loads. RC503 is meanwhile being used for testing thrust management of the GEnx-2B engines.
Cargolux expects to accept its first 747-8F in mid-year