has launched the first cargo loader to be used to transport large 787 Dreamliner assemblies.
The loader, which weighs 100 tonnes and is the longest in the world at 36m, was designed and built by
Boeing will use the equipment to load three specially modified 747-400s that will allow Boeing to transport major Dreamliner components by air.
'Designing and building a cargo loader of this magnitude is a unique proposition,' said Scott Strode, 787 vice- president of Airplane Development and Production.
'A robust transportation system is essential to meeting demand for the Dreamliner, and a safe and efficient cargo loader is critical.'
An operator seated in a cab on top of the loader will drive the machine, which has a top speed of 10mph, to the parked 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF). Sensors will then align it to the LCF's cargo-handling system to ensure safe loading and unloading of parts.
The LCF fleet will ferry 787 wings and fuselage parts from partners in
A cargo loader, each with 16 steerable axles and six steering modes, will be based at each facility.
The first loader, and a second to be completed this month, will be disassembled and delivered by ship to
Two of the three LCFs are undergoing modification at Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation in
The freighter will make its first flight this summer and be certified by the end of the year. The first two airplanes will begin supporting 787 final assembly in 2007.
The new cargo loader and LCFs will help Boeing meet the 403 orders and commitments from 29 airlines for the 787.