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JC Wings 1:400 Boeing 747-400 LCF: Boeing Dreamlifter (Reg #N249BA)

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JC Wings 1:400 Boeing 747-400 LCF: Boeing Dreamlifter (Reg #N249BA)

JC Wings 1:400 Boeing 747-400 LCF: Boeing Dreamlifter (Reg #N249BA)


The Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) is a wide-body cargo aircraft modified extensively from the Boeing 747-400 airliner. With a volume of 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 m3) it can hold three times that of a 747-400F freighter. The outsized aircraft, known as the Dreamlifter, was designed to transport Boeing 787 Dreamliner parts between Italy, Japan, and the U.S., but has also flown medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes announced on October 13, 2003, that, due to the length of time required by land and marine shipping, air transport would be the primary method of transporting parts for the assembly of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (then known as the 7E7). Boeing 787 parts were deemed too large for standard marine shipping containers as well as the Boeing 747-400F, Antonov An-124 and An-225. Initially, three used passenger 747-400 aircraft were to be converted into an outsize configuration in order to ferry sub-assemblies from Japan and Italy to North Charleston, South Carolina, and then to Washington state for final assembly, but a fourth was subsequently added to the program. The Large Cargo Freighter has a bulging fuselage similar in concept to the Super Guppy and the Airbus Beluga and BelugaXL outsize cargo aircraft, which are also used for transporting wings and fuselage sections.

The LCF conversion was partially designed by Boeing's Moscow bureau and Boeing Rocketdyne with the swing tail designed in partnership with Gamesa Aeronáutica of Spain. The cargo portion of the aircraft is unpressurized. Unlike the hydraulically supported nose section on a 747 Freighter, the tail is opened and closed by a modified shipping container handling truck, and locked to the rear fuselage with 21 electronic actuators.

Modifications were carried out in Taiwan by Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation, a joint venture of Evergreen Group's EVA Air and General Electric. Boeing reacquired the four 747-400s; one former Air China aircraft, two former China Airlines aircraft, and one former Malaysia Airlines aircraft.

The first 747 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) was rolled out of the hangar at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport on August 17, 2006. It successfully completed its first test flight on September 9, 2006, from this airport.

The 787 Dreamliner parts are placed in the aircraft by the DBL-100 cargo loader, the world's longest cargo loader. In June 2006, the first DBL-100 cargo loader was completed.

The 747 LCF's unusual appearance has drawn comparisons to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and the Hughes H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose"). Due to its ungainly form—exacerbated in that the first airplane remained unpainted for some time, due to the need for immediate testing—Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Scott Carson jokingly apologized to 747 designer Joe Sutter that he was "sorry for what we did to your plane."

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