Flawless first landing for Boeing's 747-8 Intercontinental (photos)

Approximately four-and-a-half hours after taking off on its first flight, the next-gen icon touches down at Seattle's Boeing Field.

Daniel Terdiman
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SEATTLE--Sunday was a big day for Boeing. This morning, its all-new 747-8 Intercontinental took off on its first-ever test flight. The plane, which is said to be the fastest and most fuel- and cost-efficient passenger aircraft in Boeing's history, has a planned late 2011 first customer delivery.

Four-and-a-half hours after taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., the plane touched down--seen here--at Boeing Field. During the flight, the pilots took the plane as high as 20,000 feet, and up to 250 knots, and put it through a series of tests.

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On approach

After nearly four and a half hours in flight, the 747-8 Intercontinental is finally seen on approach for its first-ever landing, at Boeing Field.
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Nearly there

Just seconds before landing, the plane's wheels are almost on the ground.
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All wheels down

At 2:25 p.m. PT, the plane landed, and here, we see it just as its nose wheels hit the ground.
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Slowing down

The 747-8 Intercontinental rolls by the risers on which dozens of members of the press corps set up to watch the landing.
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Rolling by

The 747-8 Intercontinental's first flight lasted just under four and a half hours. Here, we see the plane rolling by just seconds after touching down.
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Turning off runway

The plane turns slowly off the runway at Boeing Field.
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Moving forward

The 747-8 Intercontinental rolls forward slowly on its way back toward the hangar inside which Boeing thew a party to celebrate the plane's first landing Sunday.
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With a member of the ground crew directing, the plane comes to a complete rest.
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Close-up of front

A close-up of the front of the all-new 747.
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Ground crew

The Boeing Field ground crew rushes into to tend to the plane after its first-ever landing.
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Towed bag in

The 747-8 Intercontinental is towed back in after its landing.
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Stairs roll up

A set of rolling aviation stairs is hustled into place, moments after the plane came to rest in front of a large crowd of press, Boeing employees, and others.
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Pilot waving

Chief 747 pilot Mark Feuerstein waves to the crowd moments after emerging from the all-new 747-8 Intercontinental.
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Brass greeting pilots

A group of senior Boeing executives, including Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager of the 747 program.
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Putting in blocks.

A Boeing employee works to put in blocks in front of the plane's wheels.
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Tail with trailing cone

The 747-8's tail, seen here with its trailing cone waving behind it in the wind.
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Tails crossed

Here we see the tails of the 747-8 Intercontinental crossed with that of an Air Maroque 737.
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Joe Sutter

Joe Sutter, the "father of the 747," on hand at the landing of the first 747-8 Intercontinental on Sunday at Boeing Field in Seattle.
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In honor of Sutter, Boeing painted his initials, "JFS," on the nose gear cover.
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Ground crew working

The ground crew works on the landing gear, moments after landing on Sunday.
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Airline customers

The 747-8 Intercontinental that completed its first flight was emblazoned with the logos of the first four commercial customers of the plane: Lufthansa, Korean Air, Boeing Business Jets, and Air China.

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