Boeing 747-8 PIP Flight Test Begins
Boeing says a 747-8 Intercontinental launched the model's Performance Improvement Package (PIP) flight test program with a mission flown on 20 May 2013. Equipped with what Boeing is calling enhanced GE engines, the PIP is intended to improve the fuel efficiency of the 747-8.
According to Boeing, their Flight Test and Evaluation Captain Kirk Vining and Chief Pilot Captain Mark Feuerstein were flying when the airplane took off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, at 1:30 p.m. local time. The mission ended with a landing at Boeing Field in Seattle approximately four hours later, explained Boeing.
"It was a great flight and the engines performed as expected," said Captain Vining.
The 747-8 PIP includes improvements to the GEnx-2B engines and Flight Management Computer (FMC) software, says Boeing. Efforts to improve the 747-8 family have resulted in a 1.5 percent gain in fuel efficiency since the first airplane was delivered less than two years ago, according to a statement issued by the company. They claim the new improvements will give airlines and other operators of the 747-8 Intercontinental an airplane that is an additional 1.8 percent more efficient.
According to Boeing, the test program will also validate design changes and demonstrate the operation of the 747-8's horizontal tank fuel system on the passenger version, which was deferred from the initial deliveries. The new configuration will be delivered first in early 2014, and be available for retrofit, claimed Boeing. However, the new engines and FMC software will be in service by late 2013, said Boeing.