Boeing has unveiled the first cargo loader to be used to transport large 787 Dreamliner assemblies.
The loader, the longest in the world at 118 ft., 1 inch, was designed and built by TLD at its facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec. 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 the unprecedented customer demand for the Dreamliner, and a safe and efficient cargo loader is critical. We couldn't be more pleased with the result."
An operator seated in a cab atop the giant loader will drive the machine to the parked Large Cargo Freighter (LCF). Sensors will perfectly align it to the LCF's cargo-handling system to ensure safe loading and unloading.
The LCF fleet will ferry 787 wings and fuselage parts from partners in Wichita, Kan.; Charleston, S.C.; Grottaglie, Italy; and Nagoya, Japan, to Boeing's Everett factory for final assembly. A cargo loader 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 Nagoya and Grottaglie for reassembly.
To date, 29 airlines have logged 403 orders and commitments worth more than $56 billion at current list prices since the 787 launch in April 2004, making the Dreamliner the most successful commercial airplane launch in history.
Two of the three LCFs are undergoing modification at Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corp. in Taiwan. The third will follow later. The freighter will make its first flight this summer and be certified by the end of the year. The first two airplanes begin supporting 787 final assembly in 2007.
747 LCF Cargo Loader Fun Facts:
Length: 118 ft., 1 inch (36 meters)
Width: 27 feet, 6 inches (8.4 meters)
Overall height in full "down" position: 13 ft., 9 inches (4.2 meters)
Height of cargo deck in full "down" position: 5 ft., 10 inches (1.78 meters)
Overall height in full "up" position: 33 ft., 1 inch (10 meters)
Height of cargo deck in full "up" position: 25 ft., 4 inches (7.7 meters)
Loader Weight Empty: 220,000 pounds (100 tons, 100,000 kilograms)
Loader Weight Capacity: 150,000 pounds (68 tons, 680,000 kilograms)
Maximum speed: 10 mph (16 kilometers)
Number of tires: 32
Number of steerable axles: 16
Number of steering modes: 6