Boeing Co. plans the first test flight for its new 747-8 at 10 a.m. today, just one day shy of 41 years since the first 747-100 took its maiden flight. Boeing says the plane's technology is about 10 years newer than the technology aboard the Airbus A380, including engines and wing upgrades that allow it to carry 16% more cargo while burning 16% less fuel.
A strike at Boeing would delay not only the much-hyped 787 Dreamliner, but also derivatives based on two of the company's wide-body staples. The 747-8, a cargo plane that incorporates features from the 787, is slated to fly in mid-2009. Meanwhile, the 777 Freighter is scheduled for 500 hours of ground testing and 270 hours of flight testing as Boeing seeks to deliver its first orders in the fourth quarter of this year.