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787 Freighter Conversion Possible Due To CF?  
User currently offlineKonstantinkoll From Germany, joined Aug 2006, 99 posts, RR: 2
Posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3986 times:

Hello everyone,

I have a question regarding the 787 and, more generally, all future passanger airliners with carbon fiber fuselage: is it possible to convert them into freighters? I've seen a documentary on TV where a large section around the 1L door is cut out and replaced with a freighter door. Now - can carbon fiber be cut in a similar way without loosing? If not - what could be done to allow such conversions of carbon fiber planes 20 or 30 years down the road?

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2345 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3798 times:
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Just like with a conventional airframe conversion, there will be great deal of reinforcing structure added around the (bigger) cargo door. The exact details will vary from doing this with aluminum alloy, but it will surely be possible. And given the (relative) lack of fatigue limits on the 787 airframe, you may see a lot of those conversions 20 years down the road.

User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30898 posts, RR: 87
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3794 times:
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They cut passenger and cargo doors into the existing barrels so there should be no problem cutting larger ones in when they move to convert them to freighters.

User currently offlineKonstantinkoll From Germany, joined Aug 2006, 99 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3743 times:

Thank you Stitch, I didn't know that. I thought they'd manufacture the barrels/panels with proper holes from the beginning.

User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3712 times:



Quoting Konstantinkoll (Thread starter):
I have a question regarding the 787 and, more generally, all future passanger airliners with carbon fiber fuselage: is it possible to convert them into freighters?

Yes.

Quoting Konstantinkoll (Thread starter):
Now - can carbon fiber be cut in a similar way without loosing?

Yes. It's done on a pretty regular basis, just on smaller scale.

Tom.


User currently offlineWingedMigrator From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 2212 posts, RR: 56
Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3664 times:

I can't remember exactly where I read it, but I distinctly recall reading that the 787 was designed from the get-go for future freighter conversion, with all systems routed away and around the area where the cargo door would go. Now I must dig up the reference  scratchchin 

User currently offlineLimaNiner From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3528 times:



Quoting WingedMigrator (Reply 5):
I can't remember exactly where I read it, but I distinctly recall reading that the 787 was designed from the get-go for future freighter conversion, with all systems routed away and around the area where the cargo door would go. Now I must dig up the reference

That would be great.

I would have been surprised if this had been missed during the design of the 787, given the fact that the plane is designed to have the engines changed from one manufacturer to another. I believe this capability was pushed by the banks that typically tend to finance planes, so they can more easily resell/re-lease planes to customers with different engine preferences...


User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3248 times:



Quoting LimaNiner (Reply 6):
I would have been surprised if this had been missed during the design of the 787, given the fact that the plane is designed to have the engines changed from one manufacturer to another.

Anyone have updated information on the costs of an engine type conversion? It was originally supposed to take an hour and involve little more then a software change. Then they backtracked to 1 day + a pylon change as well. It might be attractive to Boeing and the engine makers to leave out this capability if there significant performance gains from doing so.

Generally, Boeing is much more protective of the long term value of its planes than its competitors are. They certify for more cycles, and they structure deals in such a way as to not to degrade the value of an airframe type. At least, this used to be the case.

There are some far better engines on the drawing board now, such as the GTF. I wonder if it is contractually and technically possible for someone to hang an aftermarket engine on the 787.
That would be especially attractive for freighters in about ten years or so, the way things are looking now.


User currently offlineEBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3230 times:



Quoting WingedMigrator (Reply 5):
I can't remember exactly where I read it, but I distinctly recall reading that the 787 was designed from the get-go for future freighter conversion, with all systems routed away and around the area where the cargo door would go. Now I must dig up the reference

Can we read into that the possibility there will be new build 787 freighters somewhere on the horizon? While I can see future conversions, if the company has already designed in provision for installing a cargo door, it makes sense they see new build freighters as part of the overall program. There're a lot of DC-8s, DC-10s, 767, A300s, A310s and such that will need to be replaced and I'm confident the A330 won't take the entire market.



Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlineA350 From Germany, joined Nov 2004, 1100 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3201 times:

Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 8):
While I can see future conversions, if the company has already designed in provision for installing a cargo door, it makes sense they see new build freighters as part of the overall program.

I wonder if we won't see a trend away from freighter conversions towards acquisition of freshly build native freighters due to high oil prices. A pax airplane if optimised for passenger transport and not for heavy cargo after all.

Cheers

A350

Edit: spelling

[Edited 2008-07-18 12:21:53]


Photography - the art of observing, not the art of arranging
User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1853 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3180 times:

You can't just cut a big hole in the fuselage, especially one that's the main load bearing structure, with little internal framework, like the 787. But it's no big deal. You just have to design a supporting framework around the hole so it'll be the strongest point in the fuselage. Just like adding a header when Stitch puts that new Bay window in his waterfront mansion.


Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1853 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2894 times:

A little further research reveals that passenger door openings are formed as part of the barrels when the tape machines form them. Just the windows are cut out afterwords. So presumably, cargo door openings would be there from the start on new cargo models. Conversions would have to have reinforcing structure bonded/bolted to the fuselage before the cargo door is cut out.


Andy Goetsch
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