Boeing Brands U.S. With 747 Track

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Tuesday, a marathon flight of Boeing's latest cargo freighter, the 747-8, carried the jet 11,666 miles over 17 hours and roughly traced "747" across the western half of the United States, according to tracking provided by FlightAware.com. The practice isn't entirely unique. In another notable example, Cessna in 2008 used a Citation X's track to draw the company logo across several Midwest states. Boeing expects the FAA to evaluate test data over the next few weeks and return with certification for the aircraft. The big jet has flown more than 1200 flights through the test program and that did lead to some changes for the aircraft.

Flight testing revealed problems with the flaps and outboard ailerons that required aerodynamic changes and fly-by-wire system adjustments, respectively. However, Boeing believes they've achieved their goal of creating a newer, more advanced aircraft while preserving flight characteristics that will make transition easier for current 747-400 pilots. Those qualified in the older jet will not need any simulator time to qualify in the new plane, but will need three days of ground school to learn its systems. A passenger version of the 747-8, called the Intercontinental, is still in testing.