TAIPEI, Taiwan-Boeing Co. (Chicago) recently celebrated the maiden flight of its first 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF), one of three giant freighters that will shuttle parts among the various manufacturing facilities involved in building the company's new 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The LCF's enlarged upper fuselage allows it transport large wing components and entire composite fuselage sections from as far away as Europe and Asia. In fact, the LCF can accommodate three times the cargo by volume of a standard 747-400 freighter.

The cutting-edge 787, which is scheduled to make its first flight in late 2007, will include an unprecedented number of outsourced components and subassemblies from dozens of suppliers around the globe. For example, the aircraft's wings will be built in Japan, while major parts of the fuselage will come from Italy. The LCF will also shuttle various subassemblies within North America, from manufacturing facilities in Wichita, KS, and Charleston, SC, to the 787 final assembly plant in Everett, WA.

"This is a key moment in the Dreamliner program," says Scott Strode, 787 vice president of airplane development and production. "The LCF fleet is the foundation of our lean, global production system and enables us to meet the unprecedented customer demand for the 787."

Although the LCF is a Boeing creation, Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corp. performed the actual modifications. Evergreen Aviation is currently modifying a second LCF for completion this fall and will begin work on a third airplane in 2007.