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Breathe
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Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:16 pm

Given the death knell of 4 engine passenger jets, I was wondering if LH, CA, KE decide to retire their 747-8 Intercontinental's if Boeing made any provisions to make this version of the 747 "easy" to convert to freighter plane?
 
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TWA302
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:44 pm

I doubt the demand will be there for such a conversion. But being no expert I could be and probably will be wrong.
 
CX747
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:46 pm

Would love to see it but the 777-300ERSF will capture that need in my opinion.
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JayinKitsap
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:50 pm

A P2F conversion for the 748F has not been certified. Unless it is very very easy and it basically fits the 744 P2F conversion AND LH chooses to release 15 of them soon, it isn't going to happen. The 777 did not have a P2F conversion except for the 77W which is being certified now. Just too few frames.
 
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:56 pm

The problem is going to be the expensive certification (ergo, all the paperwork). There are only 47 examples of the 747-8i in existence, 11 of which are VIP/AF1s that are unlikely to ever be candidates for conversion. That leaves us a meager 36 potential frames as feedstock. It is by no means guaranteed that all 36 will ever be released by their operators, so if just Air China decides to run theirs for 30 years, the potential will have dropped to 29.

TLDR: The cost per airframe will be very high and the amount of feedstock available is a high risk.
 
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747classic
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:31 pm

The 747-8I was designed from the start to include a P-F conversion.
The only draw back is the limited feedstock, only Air China, Lufthansa and Korean have a fleet of 747-8I's.

However, seen the current 777-9 order drought, Boeing could offer a 1:1 trade-in of 747-8I's against extra orders for new built 777-9's to keep the 777-9 line running.


The traded-in B747-8i aircraft could be converted to 747-8F aircraft, wihout nose cargo door at the 747 FAL, after the last 747-8F has been produced.
During this conversion, the following has to be modified to produce a 747-8BCF with the same range/payload capacity as the factory built 747-8F aircraft.

- Removal of the stretched upperdeck structure and installation of the "short hump" (a reversed SUD modification).
- Installation of the side main deck cargo door.
- Maindeck floor beams replaced by new re-enforced composite floor beams (777-300ERSF look alikes).
- installation of maindeck cargo handling system.

All these mods are already "old proven tech with low risk" , except for the lighter composite floor beams and can create a freighter with same cargo volume and structural payload as the 747-8F

With this modification an exact copy of the 747-8F is created, except the nose door.
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strfyr51
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:59 pm

One thing we need to keep in mind is that Boeing built not only the 747-8I but the 747-8F. and since they built one?? They can certainly sell the drawings for the modification of the OTHER. The Question is? what will it Cost? And? Is it worth it? I think eventually that all the current 747-8I's might well become -8CPF's at some point given that the Nose door might well be out of the question. The point is? Whether or when the Covid problem is brought to bear. As then there might well be a business case TO convert the 747-8I to an -8 CF. So It's not a question of IF? But When..
 
Lukas757
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:18 pm

747classic wrote:

All these mods are already "old proven tech with low risk" , except for the lighter composite floor beams


Does this mean the -400 and -400F shared the same floor beams, but the -8 and -8F have different ones?
 
CX747
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:56 pm

747classic wrote:
The 747-8I was designed from the start to include a P-F conversion.
The only draw back is the limited feedstock, only Air China, Lufthansa and Korean have a fleet of 747-8I's.

However, seen the current 777-9 order drought, Boeing could offer a 1:1 trade-in of 747-8I's against extra orders for new built 777-9's to keep the 777-9 line running.


The traded-in B747-8i aircraft could be converted to 747-8F aircraft, wihout nose cargo door at the 747 FAL, after the last 747-8F has been produced.
During this conversion, the following has to be modified to produce a 747-8BCF with the same range/payload capacity as the factory built 747-8F aircraft.

- Removal of the stretched upperdeck structure and installation of the "short hump" (a reversed SUD modification).
- Installation of the side main deck cargo door.
- Maindeck floor beams replaced by new re-enforced composite floor beams (777-300ERSF look alikes).
- installation of maindeck cargo handling system.

All these mods are already "old proven tech with low risk" , except for the lighter composite floor beams and can create a freighter with same cargo volume and structural payload as the 747-8F

With this modification an exact copy of the 747-8F is created, except the nose door.


What do you think the cost of that would run? Seems like an interesting proposal.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
amdiesen
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:57 pm

How much would certification cost?
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:07 pm

CX747 wrote:
What do you think the cost of that would run? Seems like an interesting proposal.


It would be very expensive and time consuming. At the end you would have a converted passenger 747 which going by the BCF was pretty heavy. And no volume advantage over the 77WP2F.
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:16 pm

747classic wrote:
The 747-8I was designed from the start to include a P-F conversion.

- Removal of the stretched upperdeck structure and installation of the "short hump" (a reversed SUD modification).


Has any 747 ever got it's SUD removed and replaced with a short upperdeck? It sounds very expensive. The other way around was only done by KLM and UTA and not sure if it was worth it in the end. If they didn't bother to do it with the hundreds of 747-400s potentially available as BCFs I wonder if they'd bother for the 30 or so who maximum get converted. It will remain a dog compared to true freighters, heavier, less payload and no nose door.
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:22 pm

zeke wrote:
CX747 wrote:
What do you think the cost of that would run? Seems like an interesting proposal.


It would be very expensive and time consuming. At the end you would have a converted passenger 747 which going by the BCF was pretty heavy. And no volume advantage over the 77WP2F.

Agreed. The 777-300ERSF has enough stock to be a tough competitor.

I do not expect a conversion, due to the weight inefficiency and need for a new certification and so little stock...

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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:34 pm

lightsaber wrote:
Agreed. The 777-300ERSF has enough stock to be a tough competitor.

I do not expect a conversion, due to the weight inefficiency and need for a new certification and so little stock...

Lightsaber


Apart from the structural changes, reducing the forward fuselage of a 747-8i would result in all of the cables to be modified, control cables changed, changes to hydraulics and pneumatics. It’s a massive undertaking. And that is even before the interior is modified and a cargo door is installed.
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:08 am

zeke wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
Agreed. The 777-300ERSF has enough stock to be a tough competitor.

I do not expect a conversion, due to the weight inefficiency and need for a new certification and so little stock...

Lightsaber


Apart from the structural changes, reducing the forward fuselage of a 747-8i would result in all of the cables to be modified, control cables changed, changes to hydraulics and pneumatics. It’s a massive undertaking. And that is even before the interior is modified and a cargo door is installed.


And with a maximum total scale of merely 47 aircraft, the odds of it being commercially feasible are zero.
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jreeves96
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:14 am

Considering only 46 passengers frames were built (if I counted correctly) and two are going to the USAF and nine are VIP config, I don't see a program coming about. Demand isn't there. Lufthansa and Korean, from what I've read, love the -8 and they make up 29 of the 46 frames.

I was talking to a company mechanic who works closely with Lufthansa Technik when not flying with us, so take that how you want. But he said a conversion would be unlikely because of the upper deck. Our BCFs and SFs alone have 6-8 seats on the main deck of the -400, our -8's have six. It's useless weight. So I'd go ahead and nip the 747-8BDSF in the butt.
 
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:35 am

The extended upper-deck is also an issue, as it poses a height restriction on the main-deck. This is also the case on the -400SF, but on the -8 the upper-deck is even longer and therefore would affect more main-deck loading positions.

But above all else, less than 50 frames is simply not enough to split the cost of certifying the conversion. Also worth keeping in mind that the 3 operators of the -8 have a tendency to fly their frames "until the wings fall off", leaving insufficient cycles and hours on the frames once they've served their time carrying SLF.
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:17 am

Id say they'll a few things will happen to them none of which is P2F conversion.

As long as the existing freight operators continue with their newbuild 748F's, which
is likely they will as they can do a few unique things then there will still be plenty of support
for the type. So they may chose to hang on to them for a while given their costs are largely
a sunk expenditure now.

After that likely uses in my opinion.

1 - 2 Korean Air frames are going to the Korean government as a replacement for the existing VIP 747s.
2 - I'd expect Air China to do the same, though this could be subject to geopolitical considerations.
3 - I wouldn't be surprised if more VIP ones were sold cheaply to various governments. The German government
cant do this as it would be well received given their A350 purchase and the need to be seen to be supporting
airbus. But there's lots of countries from Brazil to the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as upgrades for
some middle eastern countries that all might be interested in VIP config.
4 - Carriers like HiFly or Air Atlantic may see a use for them in long range charter.

In the short term its going to be what LH does with the A380 and the 744. If all of the 744s done come back,
and some or all of the A380s come back they may wish to hang on to them for a while yet.
 
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:18 am

B777LRF wrote:
The extended upper-deck is also an issue, as it poses a height restriction on the main-deck.

Interesting, how is that? In what way does it restrict main deck height, that a shorter (but still extant) non-SUD doesn't?
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
amdiesen
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:45 am

What a spicy topic! And to think we, like economists, would have 11 opinions for every 10 people if we just had the data.

Anybody, Anybody ...estimated certification cost... Anybody?


footnotes: most of the engineering work has been done, the 748 provides distinct utility only match by the AN-124, The 779p will kill the 748i on economics, the economic depreciation will be steep..ie passenger frames will be worth salvage when the freighters are at a mid-point in their lives..
Last edited by amdiesen on Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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CX747
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:49 am

lightsaber wrote:
zeke wrote:
CX747 wrote:
What do you think the cost of that would run? Seems like an interesting proposal.


It would be very expensive and time consuming. At the end you would have a converted passenger 747 which going by the BCF was pretty heavy. And no volume advantage over the 77WP2F.

Agreed. The 777-300ERSF has enough stock to be a tough competitor.

I do not expect a conversion, due to the weight inefficiency and need for a new certification and so little stock...

Lightsaber


Agree 100% that the 777-300ERSF will be the program of record. Just interesting to think about what the actual cost of converting a 747-8i would run someone. How many 747-400BCFs were converted?
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:54 am

LAX772LR wrote:
B777LRF wrote:
The extended upper-deck is also an issue, as it poses a height restriction on the main-deck.

Interesting, how is that? In what way does it restrict main deck height, that a shorter (but still extant) non-SUD doesn't?


The 743/744 and 742SUD converted freighters retain the exterior SUD, but the interior crossmembers are raised on the rear of the SUD to have full height.

Without this mod the entire area under the upper deck would have a height restriction the same as the nose door on any 74F, which is like 2 feet shorter than through the SCD.

The huge length of the 748 SUD lends itself to removal rather than bumping up the floor and retaining all that dead space.
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:55 am

jreeves96 wrote:
Considering only 46 passengers frames were built (if I counted correctly) and two are going to the USAF and nine are VIP config, I don't see a program coming about. Demand isn't there. Lufthansa and Korean, from what I've read, love the -8 and they make up 29 of the 46 frames.

I was talking to a company mechanic who works closely with Lufthansa Technik when not flying with us, so take that how you want. But he said a conversion would be unlikely because of the upper deck. Our BCFs and SFs alone have 6-8 seats on the main deck of the -400, our -8's have six. It's useless weight. So I'd go ahead and nip the 747-8BDSF in the butt.


Fortunately, I think this is correct, and the 3 carriers that fly the 747-8i will likely keep it in service a while. Should travel demand return, Lufthansa will have demand for F to limited markets which would be well served with the 747-8I. The 747-8i is also premium heavy, and, with no other 4 holers remaining in service (it seems likely that the 744's, A380's and A340's will all go), it should meet the need for the high premium demand routes. I reckon we may see 747's in the skies longer than A380's.
 
amdiesen
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:02 am

CX747 wrote:
Agree 100% that the 777-300ERSF will be the program of record.

Just interesting to think about what the actual cost of converting a 747-8i would run someone. How many 747-400BCFs were converted?


~49 BCFs (~20 scrapped), ~31 BDSFs(~5 scrapped); average age at conversion scrapping ~22.8yrs
there are ~26 conversions in operation with airlines that are willing to buy new
there are ~25 conversions in operation with airlines that ~largely buy 2nd hand

This cargofacts graphic is a useful tool when processing the data/ forming opinions
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1b-0Fz1KzwTFDwYx_D5kG0bhUXyoE0nEQ/view
*however one might, in an effort to make a conservative estimate, discount the b773ersf paper airplane aspiration and move its 'dot' to overlay the a350-1000
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LCDFlight
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:36 am

Two options here.

1. Nothing. KAL and Lufthansa are stable airlines. They can fly the 748 pax for a full lifetime if they desire.
2. 748 pax are scrapped, contributing engines and other 748 parts to keep the 748 freighters running.
 
CX747
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:09 am

amdiesen wrote:
CX747 wrote:
Agree 100% that the 777-300ERSF will be the program of record.

Just interesting to think about what the actual cost of converting a 747-8i would run someone. How many 747-400BCFs were converted?


~49 BCFs (~20 scrapped), ~31 BDSFs(~5 scrapped); average age at conversion scrapping ~22.8yrs
there are ~26 conversions in operation with airlines that are willing to buy new
there are ~25 conversions in operation with airlines that ~largely buy 2nd hand

This cargofacts graphic is a useful tool when processing the data/ forming opinions
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1b-0Fz1KzwTFDwYx_D5kG0bhUXyoE0nEQ/view
*however one might, in an effort to make a conservative estimate, discount the b773ersf paper airplane aspiration and move its 'dot' to overlay the a350-1000


Outstanding, thank you.
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:57 am

Spacepope wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
B777LRF wrote:
The extended upper-deck is also an issue, as it poses a height restriction on the main-deck.

Interesting, how is that? In what way does it restrict main deck height, that a shorter (but still extant) non-SUD doesn't?

The 743/744 and 742SUD converted freighters retain the exterior SUD, but the interior crossmembers are raised on the rear of the SUD to have full height.
Without this mod the entire area under the upper deck would have a height restriction the same as the nose door on any 74F, which is like 2 feet shorter than through the SCD..

Makes sense, thanks.

Though curious: is it all that common for loads to be prejudiced by that (lack of) 2ft clearance?
I'd imagine that loaders/forwarders would package and load most shipments such that it wouldn't really matter, no?
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:30 am

LAX772LR wrote:
Though curious: is it all that common for loads to be prejudiced by that (lack of) 2ft clearance?
I'd imagine that loaders/forwarders would package and load most shipments such that it wouldn't really matter, no?


It is very common for freighters to run out of available volume before they run out of available payload, which generally speaking is always the case for integrators, so volume is indeed very important, as the majority of freighters are operated by or on behalf of integrators.

The 747 is most efficient when loaded with the maximum number of AMA containers, or pallets built to the same contour. Reducing the number of positions which can accept AMA reduces the efficiency of the aircraft.
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FGITD
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:50 am

LAX772LR wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Interesting, how is that? In what way does it restrict main deck height, that a shorter (but still extant) non-SUD doesn't?

The 743/744 and 742SUD converted freighters retain the exterior SUD, but the interior crossmembers are raised on the rear of the SUD to have full height.
Without this mod the entire area under the upper deck would have a height restriction the same as the nose door on any 74F, which is like 2 feet shorter than through the SCD..

Makes sense, thanks.

Though curious: is it all that common for loads to be prejudiced by that (lack of) 2ft clearance?
I'd imagine that loaders/forwarders would package and load most shipments such that it wouldn't really matter, no?


It's been awhile since I worked a 747F so my experience may vary, but yes, the pallet buildup usually takes this into account. Some are built to go through the nose, others the SCD.

Pax/belly cargo is usually built, then planned onto a loadsheet. Full freighters tend to be somewhat reversed. You get an idea of what should go where and build specific pallets to those specs. Some airlines have specific rules about loading "soft" cargo closest to the cockpit, keeping DGs aft, etc.

Some of these reasons are also why the a.net adage of nose doors being essential isn't really true for most cargo ops. Personally I always found it to be a bit of a pain
 
jreeves96
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:03 am

LAX772LR wrote:
B777LRF wrote:
The extended upper-deck is also an issue, as it poses a height restriction on the main-deck.

Interesting, how is that? In what way does it restrict main deck height, that a shorter (but still extant) non-SUD doesn't?



Our BDSF have a height of 96 inches under the upper deck, or the “red zone” as we call it. Anything between 93 inches and 96 inches requires 11 straps, if it’s on a PMC or another pallet. 11 straps over top the cargo to the pallet itself. So if IAI does the -8 conversions, that extended upper deck is going to create more red zone positions. The current -400BDSF have 6 red zone positions starting at 3L/3R and going back to 5L/5R. A1 and B2 are usually contoured anyways so they never see the 93+ inch, but it happens. Anytime I loadplan freight, generally AMC freight, I don’t stick anything above 90 inches (plus 2 for pallet) 5L/5R and forward just to avoid that strapping. I find myself doing it on the BCF and true freighters also.

It’s simply to protect the occupants on the upper deck. (Even though there’s vertical locks, a net, usually some straps, but whatever)
 
jreeves96
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:04 am

FGITD wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
The 743/744 and 742SUD converted freighters retain the exterior SUD, but the interior crossmembers are raised on the rear of the SUD to have full height.
Without this mod the entire area under the upper deck would have a height restriction the same as the nose door on any 74F, which is like 2 feet shorter than through the SCD..

Makes sense, thanks.

Though curious: is it all that common for loads to be prejudiced by that (lack of) 2ft clearance?
I'd imagine that loaders/forwarders would package and load most shipments such that it wouldn't really matter, no?


It's been awhile since I worked a 747F so my experience may vary, but yes, the pallet buildup usually takes this into account. Some are built to go through the nose, others the SCD.

Pax/belly cargo is usually built, then planned onto a loadsheet. Full freighters tend to be somewhat reversed. You get an idea of what should go where and build specific pallets to those specs. Some airlines have specific rules about loading "soft" cargo closest to the cockpit, keeping DGs aft, etc.

Some of these reasons are also why the a.net adage of nose doors being essential isn't really true for most cargo ops. Personally I always found it to be a bit of a pain


In my 2 1/2 years of being a flying loadmaster, I’ve used the nose door once. And it was for a T-4 with helicopter blades.
 
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747classic
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:01 am

I proposed the stretched upperdeck removal for two main reasons :
- Lower the OEW to come close to the OEW of the 747-8F. ( the new "777-300ERSF style" floorbeams will be even lighter than the current 747-8F floor beams and will compensate for the additional weight of the pax window frames and main deck entry doors)
- To increase the number of main deck 10 ft pallet positions, equal to the factory built 747-8F aircraft. (same volume capacity)

These two issues are the main disadvantages of the current 744BCF and 744BDSF conversions.

Note : I have observed the KLM 747200B(SUD) conversion in Everett. All aircraft were modified at the FAL during the eighties, when demand for 747 classics was at it's low..

The same is happening today :
- 747-8F aircraft are built at a low rate and assembly stops at the end of 2022
- The 747 FAL has enough room or at another location enough hangar space is available after 787 production will stop at Everett.
- L/N 1435, the rejected LH 747-8i, the last Boeing owned, could be used as pilot aircraft for the conversion.
- Lufthansa, Korean and possible Air China could be convinced to join this win-win deal for Boeing and these airlines.
- Boeing would sell more 777-9's and reduce a possible "technical drain" from it's work force by keeping more experienced technicians in Everett, both at the 777-9 line and at the 747 conversion line.
- Above mentioned airlines are replacing the same passenger capacity by a far more fuel-efficient aircraft against moderate costs.
- Cargo carriers can expand their 747-8F fleets with relative cheap " 747-8F look alikes".
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zeke
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:29 am

747classic wrote:
I proposed the stretched upperdeck removal for two main reasons :
- Lower the OEW to come close to the OEW of the 747-8F. ( the new "777-300ERSF style" floorbeams will be even lighter than the current 747-8F floor beams and will compensate for the additional weight of the pax window frames and main deck entry doors)
- To increase the number of main deck 10 ft pallet positions, equal to the factory built 747-8F aircraft. (same volume capacity)

These two issues are the main disadvantages of the current 744BCF and 744BDSF conversions.

Note : I have observed the KLM 747200B(SUD) conversion in Everett. All aircraft were modified at the FAL during the eighties, when demand for 747 classics was at it's low..

The same is happening today :
- 747-8F aircraft are built at a low rate and assembly stops at the end of 2022
- The 747 FAL has enough room or at another location enough hangar space is available after 787 production will stop at Everett.
- L/N 1435, the rejected LH 747-8i, the last Boeing owned, could be used as pilot aircraft for the conversion.
- Lufthansa, Korean and possible Air China could be convinced to join this win-win deal for Boeing and these airlines.
- Boeing would sell more 777-9's and reduce a possible "technical drain" from it's work force by keeping more experienced technicians in Everett, both at the 777-9 line and at the 747 conversion line.
- Above mentioned airlines are replacing the same passenger capacity by a far more fuel-efficient aircraft against moderate costs.
- Cargo carriers can expand their 747-8F fleets with relative cheap " 747-8F look alikes".


I just don’t see the business case for that, anything and everything is possible however I cannot see any justification for it. Some significant tooling would be needed to do that.

You could probably put cargo doors in two A380s for the cost to cut and join the 746-8i fuselage, and I don’t see that happening either.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
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CrimsonNL
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:39 am

LAX772LR wrote:
B777LRF wrote:
The extended upper-deck is also an issue, as it poses a height restriction on the main-deck.

Interesting, how is that? In what way does it restrict main deck height, that a shorter (but still extant) non-SUD doesn't?


You can see the difference in available height below the upperdeck section and the rest, on these pictures:

Always comparing your flown types list with mine
 
bennett123
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:41 am

Could the extended upper deck be retained and used for low density cargo?.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:05 am

CrimsonNL wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
B777LRF wrote:
The extended upper-deck is also an issue, as it poses a height restriction on the main-deck.

Interesting, how is that? In what way does it restrict main deck height, that a shorter (but still extant) non-SUD doesn't?


You can see the difference in available height below the upperdeck section and the rest, on these pictures:


Great examples, thanks!
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
Noshow
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:06 am

Now with so many passenger 747-400 retired and available for conversion wouldn't they be the best type to be converted? Removing the outside hump from any -8 would be super expensive and not many are available. The value of a 747 freighter is that wide and high fuselage diameter for high pallets. Different from a 777.
 
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747classic
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:21 am

zeke wrote:

I just don’t see the business case for that, anything and everything is possible however I cannot see any justification for it. Some significant tooling would be needed to do that.

You could probably put cargo doors in two A380s for the cost to cut and join the 746-8i fuselage, and I don’t see that happening either.


All tooling is available at the 747 FAL.
The most important part is the exact jacking of the aircraft.
As shown at the 747-200B SUD conversion pictures, only the upperdek part aft of section 41 wil be removed.
See my pictures of the actual 747-200B SUD conversion at airlinereporter : https://www.airlinereporter.com/tag/boeing-747-200-sud/
Then the internal upgrade is performed, airconditioning, control cables, etc
After that the new short upperdeck structure has to be installed again, for structural integerty.
Now the normal P-F conversion can start (removing floor beams and installing the SCD.

The business case is not only the actual conversion, but the whole package, including :
- More 777-9 aircraft sold, increasing the assembly rate.
- Actual cost for trade-in of 747-8I aircraft (average age 5-10 years in 2022)
- Demand for / and selling price after conversion to 747-8BCF.
- Retaining technical skills inside the Boeing company.
- Bridging the production gap after the 737MAX and Covid 19 crises followed by the 747 & 787 line closure at Boeing Everett.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
Noshow
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:31 am

For Boeing it might make sense to keep the 747 line busy with conversions until the now delayed 777X comes into full rate production. More like manufacturer's staff logistics than market demand. Everybody who wanted some -8F could order one until recently.
 
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zeke
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:45 pm

747classic wrote:
All tooling is available at the 747 FAL.


I am not sure that is the case, the tooling on the fal is designed to join the three sections together, they would need different support to cut an airframe in order to maintain rigidity.

The process would probably include removing the engines and gear as well to unload the fuselage.
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amstone17
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:07 pm

Breathe wrote:
Given the death knell of 4 engine passenger jets, I was wondering if LH, CA, KE decide to retire their 747-8 Intercontinental's if Boeing made any provisions to make this version of the 747 "easy" to convert to freighter plane?
.


The 747-1/2/3/4 P2F programs were easily justified due to high demand for such transports, and the need of 3+ engines still being somewhat relevant.

Today, the expense of a 747-8 P2F program might not be justified, even if it is just a logical extension from previous generations, what with the 777-300 P2F program finally launching, there will likely be no demand for converted 747-8s/

The main reasons now, well the twin jet era is fully established and pretty much at the last stages of killing 4 engine jets, and the only reason anyone would still want 747s is if you can get the hinged nose and gain the ability for odd sized cargo. With only a side door on converted units, you don't get that advantage anymore.


So long as the 777-300 conversion program is successful, there are a ton of airframes out there ready and waiting for conversion, they will likely cover any and all demand going forward.
 
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747classic
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:17 pm

zeke wrote:
747classic wrote:
All tooling is available at the 747 FAL.


I am not sure that is the case, the tooling on the fal is designed to join the three sections together, they would need different support to cut an airframe in order to maintain rigidity.

The process would probably include removing the engines and gear as well to unload the fuselage.


The reverse proces has already been done at the Everett 747 FAL , even in between other new assembled aircraft, around 1984.
At that occassion no engines had to be removed, only very careful jacking of the aircraft was needed.
The same jacking is needed when the fuselage is cut to installl the SCD and also when the floor beams are replaced.
I watched the whole P-F conversion proces in Wichita in 1998, and ferried PH-BUI, the second SUD P-F conversion in the world towards Boeing Military Airlplanes factory at Wichita
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:20 pm

The only freighter conversion I see for a 747-8i is for a a 747-8 LCF if Boeing needs any more of them. They could also be useful for future engine test beds. It's pretty hard to have a test bed that doesn't have 4 engines, especially for wide body engines.
 
CX747
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:39 pm

The capability to do the program is there. The questions surrounding interest and Boeing's desire are the 800lb gorillas in the room. I like the, "thinking outside the box" here. Economic times are tough and I would hope Boeing has several ideas on what to do to keep busy and have money come through the door. Feedstock levels concern me the most. IAI is discussing 777-300ERSF production at 6 a year. IF Boeing had a 747-8 conversion line at 5 a year, you are still looking at 8 years of production if you got almost every last 747-8i converted. That's close to a decade of work, at a place that is currently scrounging for work.......pretty sure guys turning wrenches right now and looking out at 2022 would like to be looking out to 2030.

IF the demand was there, Boeing could turn the trade in 747-8i program into something covering more than just 777-9s. Hey, don't need the 747-8i anymore but you need short haul? Discounted Max or whitetail Max aircraft etc. Always good to see what has been done, when looking forward at what could be done.

I had put some thought into the 777-X program the other day and where it sat. I read an article on the USAF looking for a new tanker competition to fill the KC-10, almost the KC-Y idea. Boeing should/could pitch the 777-X as a new tanker, with a cargo door. Win the USAF order of 60-90 aircraft and set yourself up for a 777-X cargo variant to the general population.
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Noshow
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:53 pm

This is what they ordered the KC-46 for.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:16 pm

amstone17 wrote:
The main reasons now, well the twin jet era is fully established and pretty much at the last stages of killing 4 engine jets, and the only reason anyone would still want 747s is if you can get the hinged nose and gain the ability for odd sized cargo. With only a side door on converted units, you don't get that advantage anymore.


Thanks for that. I was wondering why 748 conversions would even be discussed with so many 773ER frames available. Capability is one thing, but capability that is seldom used doesn't carry much market value (to pay for conversion engineering and tooling).
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:38 pm

Noshow wrote:
This is what they ordered the KC-46 for.


No, the USAF ordered the KC-46 for the KC-X program, which was replacement of the KC-135. The KC-Y program is for a larger tanker to replace the KC-10. Personally I'd rather see the 789 get the freighter treatment for this program instead of the 777X
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747classic
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:59 pm

The demand for this converted 747-8I freighter would come from established cargo airlines with mixed 748 and 744 freighters.

Prime candidates would be Atlas Air, Cargolux and UPS and perhaps Korean using their own 747-8I's after conversion in the full cargo role.

Replacing high time 744BCF, 744BDSF and 744F aircraft with an aircraft with the same engines as the 747-8F, the same pilot type rating, exactly the same cargo volume and almost the same payload/range, avoiding the introduction of a second aircraft type in their(long haul) fleet for many years.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
Noshow
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:44 pm

Sounds like Boeing halted the 747 too early. And now they start to realize it.
The pool of available aircraft for conversion is just too small with only a few 747-8 passenger variants built. Better industrially convert the 777-300ER to freighters. There are tons on the market. Could be done in Everett as well. I would call Emirates first and Amazon next.
 
FGITD
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Re: Question: 747-8 to Freighter easy conversion possible?

Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:20 pm

jreeves96 wrote:
FGITD wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Makes sense, thanks.

Though curious: is it all that common for loads to be prejudiced by that (lack of) 2ft clearance?
I'd imagine that loaders/forwarders would package and load most shipments such that it wouldn't really matter, no?


It's been awhile since I worked a 747F so my experience may vary, but yes, the pallet buildup usually takes this into account. Some are built to go through the nose, others the SCD.

Pax/belly cargo is usually built, then planned onto a loadsheet. Full freighters tend to be somewhat reversed. You get an idea of what should go where and build specific pallets to those specs. Some airlines have specific rules about loading "soft" cargo closest to the cockpit, keeping DGs aft, etc.

Some of these reasons are also why the a.net adage of nose doors being essential isn't really true for most cargo ops. Personally I always found it to be a bit of a pain


In my 2 1/2 years of being a flying loadmaster, I’ve used the nose door once. And it was for a T-4 with helicopter blades.


Great example. The carrier I worked for actually gathered almost all the cargo operations people in one station when we had wind turbine blades to load. Not because they needed the extra people, but because it was such a rare occurrence that we'd actually get to load something that required the nose door. Management wanted everyone to see it.

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