|Boeing 747-400 LCF Dreamlifter|
|Role||Outsize cargo freight aircraft|
|Manufacturer||Boeing Commercial Airplanes |
Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation
|First flight||September 9, 2006|
|Primary user||Boeing Commercial Airplanes|
|Number built||4 (all conversions)|
|Program cost||$1 billion|
|Developed from||Boeing 747-400|
The Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, also known as the Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF), is a wide-body cargo aircraft. At 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 cubic meters) the cargo hold was the largest in the world for an aircraft, until the Airbus Beluga XL was released (2,615 m³). It can hold three times the volume of a 747-400F freighter. Cargo is placed in the aircraft by the world's longest cargo loader. It is an extensively modified Boeing 747-400 that is used exclusively for transporting Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft components to Boeing's assembly plants from suppliers around the world.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes announced on October 13, 2003 that, due to the length of time required by land and marine shipping, air transport will be the primary method of transporting parts for the assembly of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (then known as the 7E7). Boeing 787 parts were deemed too large for standard marine shipping containers as well as the Boeing 747-400F, Antonov An-124 and Antonov An-225. Initially, 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 North Charleston, South Carolina, and then to Washington state for final assembly, but a fourth was subsequently added to the program. 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.
The LCF conversion was partially designed by Boeing's Moscow bureau and Boeing Rocketdyne with the swing tail designed in partnership with Gamesa Aeronáutica of Spain. The cargo portion of the aircraft is unpressurized.  Modifications were carried out in Taiwan by Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation, a joint venture of Evergreen Group's EVA Air and General Electric. Boeing has acquired the four second-hand 747-400s; one former Air China aircraft, two former China Airlines aircraft, and one former Malaysia Airlines aircraft.
The first 747 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) was rolled out of the hangar at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport on August 17, 2006. It successfully completed its first test flight on September 9, 2006 from this airport.
The 747 LCF's unusual appearance has drawn comparisons to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and the Hughes H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose"). Due to its ungainly form — exacerbated in that the first airplane remained unpainted for some time, due to the need for immediate testing — Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Scott Carson jokingly apologized to 747 designer Joe Sutter that he was "sorry for what we did to your plane."
On September 16, 2006, N747BC arrived at Boeing Field, Seattle to complete the flight test program. Swing-tail testing was done at the Boeing factory in Everett. The second airplane, N780BA, made its inaugural test flight on February 16, 2007. The third began modification in 2007. The first two LCFs entered service in 2007 to support the final assembly of the first 787 Dreamliners.
Delivery times for the 787's wings, built in Japan, will be reduced from around 30 days to just over eight hours with the 747 LCF. Evergreen International Airlines (unrelated to EVA Air or EGAT), a U.S. air freight operator based in McMinnville, Oregon, operated the LCF fleet until August 2010. Then Atlas Air, which was awarded a nine-year contract for the operation of the aircraft in March 2010, took over LCF operation. Evergreen had achieved a 93% on flight schedule performance with the LCF, and sued Boeing for $175 million, which the court mostly dismissed.
In June 2006, the first DBL-100 cargo loader used for loading 787 parts into the 747 LCF was completed. In December 2006, Boeing announced the 747 LCF would be named Dreamlifter, a reference to the 787's name, Dreamliner. It unveiled a standard livery for the aircraft that included a logo reminiscent of the 787's Dreamliner logo.
Certification was initially planned for early 2007, but was pushed back to June 2007. The aircraft's winglets were removed to resolve excess vibration and other handling characteristics 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, Washington for final assembly. The 747 LCF was granted FAA type certification on June 2, 2007. From its first flight in 2006 until certification in 2007, the Dreamlifter completed 437 hours of flight testing along with 639 hours of ground testing.
On November 20, 2013, Dreamlifter N780BA operated by Atlas Air inadvertently landed at Colonel James Jabara Airport, a small general aviation airport in Wichita, Kansas. Its intended destination was McConnell Air Force Base, 9 miles past Jabara Airport on the same heading. The aircraft was able to successfully take off again from Jabara's 6100-foot runway the following day and landed at McConnell without incident.
The 747 LCF main cargo compartment has a volume of 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 cubic meters) and the maximum payload capacity is 250,000 lb (113,400 kg).
|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 (394,661 lb)|
|Maximum take-off weight||364,235 kg (803,001 lb)||396,890 kg (874,990 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 |
|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)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
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