Boeing's swing-tail Large Cargo Freighter
March 20, 2005 The process of designing and building aeroplanes is a complex task as Boeing’s development of the super-efficient 787 Dreamliner amply demonstrates. The 787 Dreamliner uses composite fuselage sections built as full barrels to reduce the number of parts and improve aerodynamic performance and fuel efficiency. So they had to design and build a new plane to carry the parts from their points of manufacturer all over the world. The pregnant-looking Large Cargo Freighter is a modified 747-400 that will serve as the primary means of transporting major assemblies to the 787 Dreamliner final assembly site in Everett, Washington.
The Large Cargo Freighter's unique design will enable the entire aft fuselage to swing open, allowing 787 fuselage and wing components to be loaded. The expanded girth of the Large Cargo Freighter will hold 300 percent more cargo above the main deck than the largest freighter in regularly scheduled service, the 747-400.
The Large Cargo Freighter represents Boeing's commitment to new production system methods on the 787. It is the first time that Boeing jetliner production will rely primarily on airplanes for delivery of components. Certification of the airplane is expected in 2006.
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 airlines.
The 787 Dreamliner uses a new aircraft manufacturing technique that will be used for the first time.
In short, the composite fuselage sections are built as full barrels with integrated stringers to reduce the number of parts on the airplane, improve overall aerodynamic performance, and help make the airplane more fuel efficient than any other in its class.
Once the detailed design work is completed, the components will largely be provided by current 747 suppliers. Those parts will then be shipped to Taipei, where the airplanes will be modified.
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.