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Next-generation 747 takes first air (photos)

On Monday, Boeing's 747-8 Freighter took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., its first flight, and the first for the new 747 program.

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Daniel Terdiman

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747-8F take air for the first time

On Monday, Boeing's 747-8 Freighter took to the air for its first flight from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., joining the 787 Dreamliner in a test flight regimen. The 747-8F is the cargo version of the passenger plane that will take Boeing's flagship jumbo jet into the 21st century.
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With a chase plane

The 747-8F's first flight was delayed nearly three hours by low cloud cover. Once it was ready, the pilot waited until two chase planes could circle around and fly by as it sped down the jetway.
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Right engine smoking

The 747-8F's right engines begin to emit smoke as they are powered on in preparation for taxiing out for its first flight.
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Left engine smoking

The left engines begin emitting smoke as they are powered up.
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Sniffing dog

The press corps had to wait until bags were sniffed by a dog looking for explosives.
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Three tails

The tails of the three test 747-8Fs. The program's first flight took place on Monday.
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747-400 in assembly

Even as Boeing moves forward with the 747-8 program, it is still producing 747-400s. Here, a 747-400 is seen in the giant assembly plant in Everett, Wash., in 2006.
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747 cab

The cab of a 747-400 in the assembly plant in 2006.
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Watching

Boeing employees watch the 747-8F taxi out from a series of scissor lifts.
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Taxiing out

The first 747-8F taxis out for its first flight on Monday, February 8, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash.
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747-8F from behind

A rear view of the 747-8F as it taxis down the runway in preparation for its first flight.
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Front wheels up

The 747-8F's front wheels are up in the air at 12:39 p.m. PST at Paine Field.
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All wheels up

All the 747-8F's wheels are up in the air.
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In the air with chase plane

The chase planes fly by the 747-8F as it takes off.
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787 takeoff

On December 15, 2009, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner took off for its first flight. This is the first time the company has had two major programs in flight testing at the same time.
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Dreamlifter

One of Boeing's famous Dreamlifters, which is used to fly 787 Dreamliner fuselages, on the tarmac at Paine Field.
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Engine run

Boeing conducts an engine test on December 8, 2009. These are two of the 747-8F's four engines.
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Paint roll-out

On November 18, 2009, Boeing rolls out the 747-8F for painting.
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Into the clouds

After takeoff, the 747-8F disappears into the clouds. The first flight was scheduled to last about four hours.

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