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Frontiers November 2013 Issue

capacity of the upper deck of the 747-400 Freighter. Boeing once calculated that a Large Cargo Freighter could hold 42 million pingpong balls, or 8 million 12-ounce (0.35-liter) cans of soda, or 80 Mini Cooper sports cars … or even a three-level, 10-lane bowling alley with room to spare for a restaurant. Of course, what the four Large Cargo Freighters do carry are the wings and fuselage sections, along with other large assemblies such as the horizontal stabilizer, needed for final assembly of 787s in Everett and North Charleston. They arrive at both sites from Italy and Japan, and from Wichita, Kan., where the forward fuselage of the 787 is manufactured. They also carry the aft- and mid-body 787 fuselage sections made by employees at the Boeing South Carolina site to the Everett factory. With 787 production scheduled to hit 10 planes a month by early 2014, the four Large Cargo Freighters are putting in some long days. As of August this year, they averaged 100 flights per month and approximately 600 flight-hours, according to Boeing. The planes are expected to average about 160 flights per month to support the higher 787 production. To accommodate those 787 assemblies, and to make loading easier, the Large Cargo Freighter was designed with a tail that swings open. The swinging portion of the plane’s tail weighs about 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilograms), or as much as a fully loaded World War II Boeing B-17 bomber. The Large Cargo Freighter is big enough to transport one set of 787 wings, each wing nearly 100 feet (30 meters) long. The world’s longest cargo loader, measuring 110 feet (34 meters), with 32 tires, was built to move the 787 wings and fuselage sections on and off the plane. But those are only numbers that underscore just how big the Large Cargo Freighter actually is. Given the appearance and size, it’s easy to forget what this unique airplane carries inside—why it’s called the Dreamlifter. n james.a.wallace4@boeing.com For more about the Large Cargo Freighter, see the June 2005 and November 2006 stories in Frontiers. PHOTOS: (Left) The second Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter on its first flight in February 2007 in Taipei, Taiwan. BOEING (Inset, far right) Ground crew members prepare to open the swing tail of the Dreamlifter at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. BOEING FRONTIERS / NOVEMBER 2013 31


Frontiers November 2013 Issue
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