Boeing throws a treble

Designed to carry the main components of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for final assembly in Everett, Washington, the latest incarnation of the 747 series is now taking shape in Taiwan.

The Large Cargo Freighter, with a main-deck capacity of 1,845m3, is based on the cargo version of the 747-400 but can carry three times the volume.

Two Large Cargo Freighters are being built at Evergreen Aviation Technologies in Taiwan, with a third to follow later this year.

The current phase of the project involves building the forward fuselage, with the normal front end of the 747 swelling into the enlarged ‘brow’ of the plane, providing the extra space needed to transport the 787 fuselage, wing and wingbox sections.

The enlarged upper and rear fuselage, main cargo deck floor and the transition zone – the section that marries the new structure to the existing cockpit section – were all designed by the Boeing Design Centre in Moscow. The cockpit, the only part of the aircraft that will be pressurised in flight, is being designed by Boeing Rocketdyne in California.

The other crucial component of the Large Cargo Freighter is the rear section behind the enlarged cargo space. To allow the Dreamliner components to be loaded and unloaded, the tail of the freighter is hinged, swinging away to one side to allow access to the whole volume of the cargo area. This is being designed in Spain, in partnership with Gamesa Aeronautics.

The Large Cargo Freighter is scheduled for its first flight later in the summer and will enter service in 2007.