Boeing’s 747-8 Freighter takes to the skies, supports Navy FA-18biofuel program

The second Boeing 747-8 Freighter, RC521, landed in Palmdale, California, marking the beginning of a planned transition of 747-8 Freighter testing to Southern California. The more than four-hour flight from Boeing Field in Seattle included testing on avionics and cruise performance.


The aircraft will be stationed in Palmdale for the majority of its scheduled flight-test program. The crew will conduct several tests on the aircraft with fuel-mileage and engine-performance testing as key focus areas.


A contingent of employees has been stationed at Palmdale for the testing, including flight-test engineers and the support personnel who prepare the aircraft for each day's flights. In the coming weeks, the two other 747-8 aircraft in the flight-test fleet will join RC521 in Southern California.


The entire flight-test program calls for the three aircraft to perform a total of about 3,700 hours of ground and air testing. The first 747-8 Freighter delivery to Cargolux is planned for the fourth quarter of this year.


Biofuel-powered flight of US Navy F/A-18


Boeing is supporting the U.S. Navy's biofuel-powered flight, scheduled to take place on Earth Day, April 22. An unmodified, Boeing-built F/A-18F Super Hornet will take off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., powered by a sustainable biofuel blend of 50 percent camelina and 50 percent JP-5 aviation fuel.


Operating Navy platforms with renewable energy sources such as sustainable biofuels is part of the service's strategy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by half over the next decade, as well as the Secretary of the Navy's broader emphasis on energy-efficiency efforts for the Navy and Marine Corps.


Boeing has been assisting the Navy through laboratory testing of fuel properties and engineering evaluations of fuel system compatibility. The company’s biofuel testing has included demonstration flights of five commercial aircraft, testing of four engine types, and laboratory testing with various fuel processors, feedstocks, and engine manufacturers to ensure these fuels meet or exceed the high performance and quality standards specified for current aviation fuels, without modification to the engine or airframe. Camelina is one of several promising biofuel crops, as it requires little water or fertiliser and does not compete with food crops.


The company also is helping to create a commercial market for renewable fuels and to guide their approval for use in commercial aviation.

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