SEATTLE — The world's largest commercial jetliner, an enlarged 747 with fuel-efficient engines and electronic cockpit displays, made its aerial debut "beautifully," says the test pilot of the latest Boeing jumbo jet.
The first Boeing 747-400 was taken on a 2 1/2-hour flight Friday from Paine Field at Everett, where the jumbo jets are made, to Boeing Field in Seattle, where the Boeing Co. has its headquarters.
"The airplane worked beautifully," test pilot James C. Loesch told reporters.
The new jumbo jet measures 231 feet, 10 inches in length, same as the original, with a 211-foot wingspan, up from 195 feet on the original model 747-100.
The new jumbo jet has a stretched upper deck and can carry as many as 660 passengers, but it normally would carry about 450 in three classes: first, business and coach. The model 100 seated 385 passengers.
Most noticeable are 6-foot "winglets," tilted upward at the tip of each wing, which improve aerodynamic efficiency. The plane has a range of 8,400 miles, compared to the 747-100's 5,200 miles.
The other major change is on the flight deck, where more than 600 dials and switches have been replaced by six color video screens, allowing a crew of just two to operate the aircraft, instead of the usual three.
Boeing says the plane will be able to fly nonstop between such cities as London and Tokyo, New York and Seoul, Korea, and Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia.