Boeing Says 747-8 Freighter To Make First Flight

SEATTLE -- Boeing's giant 747-8 freighter is scheduled to make its first flight today.

The company says the big jet performed well on taxi tests and reached a top speed of about 103.5 mph.

At 250 feet long, the plane is the largest Boeing has ever built and about 18 feet longer than the existing 747-400 jumbo jet.

The company conducted taxi tests on the freighter yesterday at Paine Field in Everett, north of Seattle.

Mo Yahyavi, the 747 program's vice president and general manager, says "Based on early indications, the airplane is ready to fly."

Boeing also is developing a passenger version of the plane. It lists 76 orders for the freighter and 32 for the 747-8 passenger jet, with the vast majority from international customers.

The company says the jets will be much quieter, more fuel efficient and have lower emissions than current 747-400 models.