Will Support 787 Final Assembly
Boeing says development of the 747 Large Cargo Freighter is
proceeding according to plan and the modified freighters will be
ready to support final assembly of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliners
"We have a top-notch team of engineers working to design what
will be one of the most unique airplanes flying," said 787 Vice
President of Manufacturing and Quality Scott Strode. "This kind of
modification is an engineer's dream. It's an extremely challenging
project, and it's essential to the success of the
Boeing announced last week the critical "swing zone" of the
freighter, the part of the Large Cargo Freighter's aft fuselage
that opens to allow loading and unloading of the 787's large
composite structures, is being designed in partnership with Gamesa
Aeronautica of Spain. Gamesa is the first Spanish supplier
supporting the Dreamliner program.
Boeing also said today that engineers from Boeing Rocketdyne,
located in Canoga Park, Calif., are assisting its structural design
team in Everett, Wash., with changes to the Large Cargo Freighter's
cockpit area, the only part of the airplane that will be
pressurized. Strode said the work is focused on modifications to
the upper and lower decks, and relocation of several systems in the
forward section of the aircraft.
Engineers at the Boeing Design Center in Moscow are helping
design the freighter's enlarged upper fuselage and rear fuselage,
as well as the main cargo deck floor and "transition zone" that
marries the new structure to the existing airplane structure. The
expanded girth of the Large Cargo Freighter will hold three times
the cargo by volume of the 747-400 freighters flying today.
The design supplier for the pressure bulkhead that joins the
cockpit area to the fuselage will be named after contracts are
finalized. No design changes are necessary to the freighter's
wings, and Boeing engineers will extend the airplane's vertical fin
by five feet to aid the pilots' control during flight.
The Large Cargo Freighter team achieved firm configuration of the
airplane in October. Once the detailed design work is completed,
the components will largely be provided by current 747 suppliers,
Strode said. Those parts will then be shipped to Taipei, where the
airplanes will be modified by Evergreen Aviation Technologies
Corporation (EGAT), a joint venture between EVA Air and General
Electric, and part of Taiwan 's Evergreen Group.
Systems updates will be provided by the existing 747 suppliers.
Boeing has decided the airplane will remain without a livery
until an operator for the airplanes is chosen later this year. "We
know Boeing will not operate these airplanes," Strode said. "We are
talking with a number of interested parties, and we expect that
branding of the airplane will be part of the negotiation
Two Large Cargo Freighters will be needed to support initial 787
production. Two 747-400s that will be converted to the new
configuration were purchased by Boeing last year. Boeing continues
looking for a third airplane that will enter service later.
Certification of the first Large Cargo Freighter will occur in
2006, with the airplane returning to service in 2007 to support
final assembly of the first Dreamliners.
The 787 is an all-new family of mid-sized airplanes that will
provide exceptional fuel efficiencies for airlines and superior
comfort for passengers. It is to enter service in 2008. Boeing has
191 announced firm orders and commitments for the 787 from 15