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Frontiers November 2013 Issue

Four Large Cargo Freighters are key players on the Dream team By James Wallace and photos by Bob Ferguson The Large Cargo Freighter, also known as the Dreamlifter, is the primary means of transporting the wings, fuselage sections and other major assemblies of the 787 Dreamliner from Boeing’s global partners to the 787 final assembly sites in Everett, Wash., and North Charleston, S.C. As 787 production increases, the four Dreamlifters in the fleet are crisscrossing the skies day and night—crucial players on Boeing’s Dream team. Recently, Boeing photographer Bob Ferguson captured what happens when a Large Cargo Freighter arrives in Everett with its valuable cargo. In this case, it carried the composite wings for the new 787-9. The wings for the 787-8 and 787-9 are manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagoya, Japan. During a luncheon at Seattle’s Museum of Flight several years ago, Boeing’s first Large Cargo Freighter, then in flight testing, taxied by. The museum borders the runways of Boeing Field. A Commercial Airplanes executive was giving the keynote speech, and in the audience was Joe Sutter, chief engineer for the original 747 program, who is often referred to as the “father” of the first jumbo jet. As all eyes turned to the conference room windows where a gargantuan airplane with bulging fuselage was slowly making its way past, the executive quipped: “Sorry, Joe, for what we did to your airplane.” The 747 that Sutter and his team of “Incredibles” designed and built in the late PHOTOS: (Left) The nose of a Large Cargo Freighter. (Inset) A specially designed cargo loader removes nearly 100-foot-long (30-meter) 787-9 wings from the Dreamlifter. BOEING FRONTIERS / NOVEMBER 2013 25


Frontiers November 2013 Issue
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