Saturday, September 09, 2006

Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter maiden flight

A Boeing press release announced today that the company's Large Cargo Freighter (LCF), a specially modified Boeing 747-400 freighter, has made its maiden flight.
The enormous jet -- with its enlarged upper fuselage that can accommodate three times the cargo by volume of a standard 747-400 freighter -- gracefully took off under rainy skies from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (formerly Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport). Boeing flight test pilots, Capts. Joe MacDonald and Randy Wyatt, took the airplane north, and then flew roughly 150 miles south following along the east side of the island before heading north again.

"It went beautifully," MacDonald said after the flight ended. In fact, the airplane handled so well, "quite often during the flight, it was easy to forget you were in an LCF rather than a regular 747-400," he said.

Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corp., part of Taiwan's Evergreen Group, is modifying the fleet of three airplanes at its facility at the airport.
Today's flight, which lasted 2 hours and 4 minutes, was the beginning of a 250 hour test program for the aircraft. The flight test program is expected to continue through the end of the year. Once it achieves certification from the FAA, the LCF will be used to transport major composite structures of the all-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The LCF also will complete more than 500 hours of ground testing in Taipei and Seattle combined. This comprehensive test program will ensure the LCF's reliability and ability to fly its intended mission.

After completing initial flight tests in Taiwan, during which the airplane's handling characteristics will be evaluated as well as ensuring the LCF is free from flutter and excessive vibration, the airplane will fly to Seattle's Boeing Field to complete the remainder of the flight test program. The ferry flight to Seattle is expected to occur mid-month. A fleet of three LCFs will ferry 787 assemblies between Nagoya, Japan; Grottaglie, Italy; Wichita, Kan. and Charleston, S.C., before flying them to the Boeing factory in Everett, Wash., for final assembly. The first two LCFs will enter service in early 2007; the third will follow later.
Congratulations to the people at Boeing on this milestone event.

Follow the link below to view photos and a video clip of the LCF.

Source: Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter Completes First Flight - Boeing News

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