- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF)
Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter (LCF) Large Cargo Freighter - N747BC
Boeing 747-4J6 (LCF) Dreamlifter
N747BC (cn 25879/904)
Photo taken November 20, 2006
Seattle Boeing Field / King County International Airport, WA USA (BFI / KBFI)
Photo Copyright & Thanks to Rick Schlamp

The Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF), Dreamlifter, is a wide-body cargo aircraft and the world's longest cargo loader. Constructed by drastic modifications to an existing Boeing 747-400, the Dreamlifter is used exclusively for transporting aircraft parts to Boeing from suppliers around the world.


Boeing Commercial Airplanes announced on October 13, 2003 that due to the length of time required by marine shipping, air transport will be the primary method of transporting parts for the 787 (then known as the 7E7). 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 for final assembly. The Large Cargo Freighter has a bulging fuselage similar in concept to the Super Guppy and Airbus A300-600ST Beluga outsize cargo aircraft, which are also used for transporting wings and fuselage sections. It can hold three times the volume of a 747-400F freighter.

Design phase

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. Modification is being carried out in Taiwan by Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation, a joint venture of Evergreen Group's EVA Air and General Electric. Boeing has already acquired the four second-hand 747-400s; one former Air China aircraft, two former China Airlines aircraft, and one former Malaysia Airlines aircraft.

Beginning service

In June 2006, the first DBL-100 cargo loader used for loading 787 parts into the 747 LCF was completed. In December 2006, Boeing announced the 747 LCF would be named the Dreamlifter, a reference to the 787's name, Dreamliner. It unveiled a standard livery for the aircraft that included a logo reminiscent of the 787's Dreamliner logo.

Certification was initially planned for early 2007, but was pushed back to June 2007. The plane's winglets were removed to resolve excess vibration and other handling characteristics prior to final certification. In the meantime, as part of the flight test program, LCF delivered major sections of the 787 from partner sites around the world to the Boeing factory in Everett, WA for final assembly. The 747 LCF was granted FAA type certification on June 2, 2007. After its first flight on Sept. 9, 2006, the Dreamlifter completed 437 flight-test hours and 639 hours of ground testing.

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 by the fact that the need for immediate testing resulted in the first model remaining unpainted for some time, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Scott Carson jokingly apologized to 747 designer Joe Sutter that he was "sorry for what we did to your plane."

Operational history

The first 747 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) was rolled out of the hangar at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on August 17, 2006. It successfully completed its first test flight on September 9, 2006 from this airport. On September 16, 2006, N747BC arrived at Boeing Field, Seattle to complete the flight test program. Swing-tail testing was done at the Boeing factory in Everett. The second airplane, N780BA, made its inaugural test flight on February 16, 2007. The third began modification in 2007. The first two of three currently active LCFs entered service in 2007 to support the final assembly of the first 787 Dreamliners.

Delivery times for the 787's wings—built in Japan—will be reduced from around 30 days to just over 8 hours with the 747 LCF. Evergreen International Airlines (unrelated to EVA Air or EGAT), a U.S. air freight operator based in McMinnville, Oregon, operated the LCF fleet until August 2010, when Atlas Air, which was awarded a nine-year contract for the operation of the aircraft in March 2010, took over operation. Evergreen has achieved a 93% on flight schedule performance with the LCF.

During flight testing in November 2006, a Cessna 172 being used for a training flight encountered the 747 LCF's wake turbulence while on approach to Boeing Field. The small aircraft was accidentally inverted and lost 1,000 feet (300 m) of altitude before the instructor pilot was able to regain control at just 150 feet (46 m).

Of the four 747 Dreamlifters Boeing planned to acquire, three were complete and operational as of June 2008, and the fourth became operational in February 2010.


The 747 LCF main cargo compartment has a volume of 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 cubic meters).

Model 747 LCF 747-400
Cockpit crew Two
Length 235 ft 2 in (71.68 m) 231 ft 10 in (70.6 m)
Wingspan 211 ft 5 in (64.4 m)
Height 70 ft 8 in (21.54 m) 63 ft 8 in (19.4 m)
Fuselage width 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m) 21 ft 4 in (6.50 m)
Spec Operating Empty Weight 180,530 kg (398,000 lb) 179,015 kg (394,660 lb)
Maximum take-off weight 364,235 kg (803,000 lb) 396,890 kg (875,000 lb)
Cruising speed Mach 0.82 (474 kt, 878 km/h) Mach 0.85 (491 kt, 910 km/h)
Takeoff run at MTOW 9,199 ft (2,804 m) 9,902 ft (3,018 m)
Range fully loaded 4,200 nmi (4,800 mi; 7,800 km) 7,260 nmi (8,350 mi; 13,450 km)
Max. fuel capacity 52,609 U.S. gal (199,150 l) 57,285 U.S. gal (216,850 l)
Engine models (x 4) PW 4062 PW 4062
GE CF6-80C2B5F
RR RB211-524G/H
Engine thrust (per engine) 63,300 lbf (282 kN) PW 63,300 lbf (282 kN)
GE 62,100 lbf (276 kN)
RR 59,500 lbf (265 kN)
Last updated January 02, 2011
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter".
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