Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental test program began with a four hour and 25 minute flight (Photo: Boeing)
The aircraft with one of the world's most recognizable silhouettes turned 40 a couple of years ago. That's getting long in the tooth even in an industry whose products use the grandpa's axe principle like no other – as in, it's had six new heads and four new handles, but grandpa still loves that axe. But is Boeing's 747 looking towards the pasture? Not on Boeing's life. The company just this week announced the successful maiden flight of the 747-8 Intercontinental, the passenger version of a plane that takes the grandpa's axe principle to new extremes. Over more than three decades, the 747 evolved from the original 100 series through 200, 300 and 400 series, integrating technological upgrades and spawning new variants along the way. NASA even uses one, the SR, to piggyback space shuttles into the air.