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747 Large Cargo Freighter (Dreamlifter)
Boeing 747 LCF Dreamlifter
Role Outsize cargo freight aircraft
Manufacturer Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation
Designed by Boeing Design Center Moscow[1 ]
Boeing Rocketdyne[1 ]
Gamesa[1 ]
First flight September 9, 2006
Status In production
Primary user Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Number built 3 as of June 2008
Developed from Boeing 747-400

The Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF), Dreamlifter, is a wide-body cargo aircraft. Constructed by drastic modifications to an existing Boeing 747-400, the Dreamlifter is used exclusively for transporting aircraft parts to Boeing from suppliers around the world.

Contents

Development

Boeing Commercial Airplanes announced on October 13, 2003 that due to the length of time required by marine shipping, air transport will be the primary method of transporting parts for the 787 (then known as the 7E7).[2 ] Three used passenger 747-400 aircraft were to be converted into an outsize configuration in order to ferry sub-assemblies from Japan and Italy to Charleston, South Carolina and then to Everett, Washington for final assembly.[3] The Large Cargo Freighter has a bulging fuselage similar in concept to the Super Guppy and Airbus A300-600ST Beluga outsize cargo aircraft, which are also used for transporting wings and fuselage sections. It can hold three times the volume of a 747-400F freighter.[4]

Design phase

The LCF conversion was partially designed by Boeing's Moscow bureau and Boeing Rocketdyne with the swing tail designed in partnership with Gamesa Aeronautica of Spain.[1 ] Modification is being carried out in Taiwan by Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation,[4] a joint venture of Evergreen Group's EVA Air and General Electric.[5 ][6] Boeing has already acquired the four second-hand 747-400s; one former Air China aircraft,[7] two former China Airlines aircraft,[8][9] and one former Malaysia Airlines aircraft.[10]

Production

A Boeing 747 LCF Dreamlifter with its swing-tail cargo bay access open

It is much more economical for Boeing to buy used 747s and convert them than to construct these planes from scratch. The LCF is not a Boeing production model and will not be sold to any customers or see any airliner operation, and will be for Boeing's exclusive use. Another reason for modifying existing planes is the minimal regulation and flight testing required by authorities such as the Federal Aviation Administration. If the 747 LCF were produced entirely within Boeing, it would face years of development and testing in the same manner as the upcoming Boeing 747-8. Rules on airworthiness allow for the faster approval of modifications to existing aircraft that are already approved than would be the case for the approval of brand new aircraft designs.

Entry into service

In June 2006, the completion of the first DBL-100 cargo loader used for loading 787 parts into the 747 LCF was announced by Boeing. These loaders were designed and built by Canadian firm TLD at its facility at Sherbrooke, Quebec and are the longest in the world at 118 foot 1 inch.[11 ]

A panorama of a 747 Dreamlifter
The first conversion, which drew comment because in addition to its ungainly shape, it remained in this unpainted configuration for a long time.

In December 2006, Boeing announced the LCF would also be known as the Dreamlifter, a reference to the 787's name, the Dreamliner. It unveiled a standard livery for the aircraft that included a Dreamlifter logo reminiscent of the 787's Dreamliner logo.[12 ]

The certification was to be in early 2007; however, it was pushed back to June 2007. The plane had its winglets removed after excess vibration and other handling characteristics needed to be dealt with prior to final certification. In the meantime as part of the flight test program, LCF delivered major sections of the 787 from partner sites around the world to the Boeing factory in Everett, WA for final assembly.[13] The 747 LCF was granted type certification on June 2, 2007 from Federal Aviation Administration. The Dreamlifter has completed 437 flight-test hours and 639 hours of ground testing since its first flight on Sept. 9, 2006.[14]

The 747 LCF's unusual appearance has drawn comparisons to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and the Hughes H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose").[3] Due to its ungainly form, and exacerbated by the fact that the need for immediate testing resulted in the first model remaining unpainted for some time, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Scott Carson jokingly apologized to Joe Sutter, designer of the 747 that he was "sorry for what we did to your plane."[3]

Boeing plans to acquire four 747 Dreamlifters.[15] As of June 2008, three LCFs are complete and operational, and the fourth is to become operational in 2009.[16]

Operational History

Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter at Paine Field, Washington

The first 747 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) was rolled out of the hangar at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on August 17, 2006.[6] It successfully completed its first test flight on September 9, 2006 from this airport.[17 ] On 2006-09-16 N747BC arrived at Boeing Field, Seattle to complete the flight test program.[4] Swing-tail testing was done at the Boeing factory in Everett.[18] The second airplane, N780BA, made its inaugural test flight on February 16, 2007. The third began modification in 2007.[19 ] The first two of three currently active LCFs entered service in 2007 to support the final assembly of the first Dreamliners.[19 ]

Delivery times for the 787's wings — built in Japan — will be reduced from around 30 days to just over 8 hours with the 747 LCF.[20] Evergreen International Airlines (unrelated to EVA Air or EGAT), a U.S. air freight operator based in McMinnville, Oregon, operates the LCF fleet.[3][21 ]

During flight testing in November, 2006, a Cessna 172 being used for a training flight encountered the 747 LCF's wake turbulence while on approach to Boeing Field. The small aircraft was accidentally inverted and lost 1,000 feet (300 m) of altitude before the instructor pilot was able to regain control at just 150 feet (46 m).[3][22]

Specifications

The 747 LCF main cargo compartment has a volume of 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 cubic meters).[23]

Model 747 LCF 747-400
Cockpit crew Two
Length 235 ft 2 in (71.68 m) 231 ft 10 in (70.6 m)
Wingspan 211 ft 5 in (64.4 m)
Height 70 ft 8 in (21.54 m) 63 ft 8 in (19.4 m)
Fuselage width 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m) 21 ft 4 in (6.50 m)
Spec Operating Empty Weight 180,530 kg (398,000 lb) 179,015 kg (394,660 lb)
Maximum take-off weight 364,235 kg (803,000 lb) 396,890 kg (875,000 lb)
Cruising speed Mach 0.82 (474 kt, 878 km/h) Mach 0.85 (491 kt, 910 km/h)
Takeoff run at MTOW 9,199 ft (2,804 m) 9,902 ft (3,018 m)
Range fully loaded 4,200 nmi (4,800 mi; 7,800 km) 7,260 nmi (8,350 mi; 13,450 km)
Max. fuel capacity 52,609 U.S. gal (199,150 l) 57,285 U.S. gal (216,850 l)
Engine models (x 4) PW 4062 PW 4062
GE CF6-80C2B5F
RR RB211-524G/H
Engine thrust (per engine) 63,300 lbf (282 kN) PW 63,300 lbf (282 kN)
GE 62,100 lbf (276 kN)
RR 59,500 lbf (265 kN)

Sources: Boeing 747-400 specifications,[24] Boeing 747 Airport Report,[25] 747 LCF fact sheet[20]

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

References

  1. ^ a b c d http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2005/photorelease/q1/pr_050222g-1.html "Boeing's 747 Large Cargo Freighter Development on Plan"], Boeing, 22 February 2005.
  2. ^ "Boeing 7E7 Will Use Air Transport for Component Delivery". Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2003-10-13. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOg0uQAo. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  
  3. ^ a b c d e "Ugly in the Air: Boeing's New Plane Gets Gawks, Stares." Lunsford, J. L. The Wall Street Journal. January 8, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter Arrives in Seattle" (HTML). Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2005-02-18. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOgbRraC. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  5. ^ "Boeing Selects EGAT for 747 Large Cargo Freighter Modifications". Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOgsPY5F. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  6. ^ a b "Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter Rolls Out; Prepares for First Flight". Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2006-06-17. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOwdUKDH. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  7. ^ "Boeing N747BC (Ex B-2464 ) - Airfleets". Airfleets. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOVZkdcv. Retrieved 2006-03-17.  
  8. ^ "Boeing N780BA (Ex B-162 B-18272 ) - Airfleets". Airfleets. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOW5mKte. Retrieved 2006-03-17.  
  9. ^ "Boeing N249BA (Ex B-161 B-18271 ) - Airfleets". Airfleets. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOWfqPE5. Retrieved 2006-03-17.  
  10. ^ "Boeing N718BA (Ex 9M-MPA ) - Airfleets". Airfleets. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOWJrGeD. Retrieved 2006-03-17.  
  11. ^ "First Cargo Loader Completed for Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter". Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2006-06-12. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOh1qVzF. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  12. ^ "Boeing Reveals Livery, Name for 747 Large Cargo Freighters"]. Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2006-12-06. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOtmy9kr. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  13. ^ James, Wallace. "Boeing Can't Soothe Jitters". Settle Post-Intelligencer (Hearst Newspapers). Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOvIEG1D. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  14. ^ "Boeing 747 Dreamlifter Achieves FAA Certification". Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2007-06-04. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WOvcJQbY. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  15. ^ Boeing 747 Dreamlifter Fact Sheet, Boeing.
  16. ^ Three of four ,Boeing Blog Randy's Journal
  17. ^ "Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter Completes First Flight" (html). Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2006-09-09. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WP3rZzpq. Retrieved 2008-06-17.  
  18. ^ "Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter Successfully Tests Swing Tail". Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2006-10-23. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WP44nC1X. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  19. ^ a b "Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter Taking Shape". Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2006-04-17. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5WP4C1QaG. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  20. ^ a b Communications (2007-04-23). "Boeing 747 Dreamlifter Fact Sheet" (PDF). Fact Sheet. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Archived from the original on 2008-03-18. http://www.webcitation.org/5WP4oGMx8. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  21. ^ "Evergreen International Airlines, Inc. to Operate Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighters". Press Release. Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 2007-12-15. Archived from the original on 2008-03-18. http://www.webcitation.org/5WP53LPPO. Retrieved 2008-03-18.  
  22. ^ "NTSB Incident Report SEA07IA019". http://www.ntsb.gov/NTSB/brief2.asp?ev_id=20061122X01707&ntsbno=SEA07IA019&akey=1.  
  23. ^ Flight Test Program is under way for 747 Large Cargo Freighter Boeing, Nov. 2006.
  24. ^ 747-400 Technical Information, Boeing
  25. ^ Boeing 747 Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning

External links

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