For years, if it hasn't been one thing, it's been another for Boeing (NYSE: BA) investors. First, there was the costly, dragged-out strike with union workers pleading with Boeing not to farm out their jobs to contractors. Then, the endless delays, PR flubs, and postponements of production on the vaunted 787 Dreamliner, largely caused by Boeing's decision to farm out production far and wide. And when it seemed like nothing else could go wrong, last year Boeing 'fessed up that it had gotten so distracted by its 787 debacle that it let the timeline slip on production of its 747-8 freighter.

So it's with a glad heart that this week, I get to give you a bit of good news on Boeing for a change: The 747-8 can fly. In fact, it can fly even with an albatross on its back and 25,000 pounds more weight in its cargo hold than it was ever expected to carry.

Was that 12.5 tons? I didn't notice.
Undaunted by repeated failures to live up to promises it did make, Boeing set out last week to tackle a task it never promised to fulfill. Loading a test version of its new cargo freighter with dozens of steel pallets and a heavy load of fuel, Boeing maxed out its 747-8 with its anticipated "certified maximum takeoff weight" of 975,000 pounds -- then tossed in another 25,000 pounds for good measure, just to see what would happen.

The Boeing 747-8 toted the heaviest load any Boeing jet had ever lifted off with. (And nearly as much as rival Airbus's A380 superjumbo is rated to carry.) It then tooled around the California skies for a while before landing safely. The wheels supported the weight. The tires didn't pop. Heck, I hear even the brakes didn't squeak.

All of which is grand news for suppliers such as General Electric (NYSE: GE), Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE: SPR), and Honeywell (NYSE: HON), which are depending on the 747-8 passing its test, obtaining FAA certification, and beginning delivery to the customers who've ordered 108 of the birds (32 of the passenger version and 76 cargo ones) to be built, in order to earn their share of the more than $32 billion in revenues Boeing has riding on the 747-8's success (at list prices).

Foolish takeaway
Like the 787 Dreamliner, the 747-8 freighter is overbudget and overdue. But also like the 787, at least now we know the bird can fly -- and even better than hoped for. Scratch one more risk factor weighing down Boeing's stock price.

Spirit AeroSystems Holdings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems  pick, but Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.