Flight Test Program Begins with Flight from Xiamen to Hong
Boeing and launch customer Cathay
Pacific Airways have celebrated the arrival in Hong Kong of the
first Boeing 747-400 passenger airplane to be converted to a
freighter as part of the 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighter
The prototype airplane was flown from Xiamen, People's Republic
of China -- where the modification was performed and certification
ground testing was started -- to Hong Kong, where the flight test
and certification will be completed over the next few months.
“The start of flight testing for the first 747-400 Boeing
Converted Freighter is another in a long series of accomplishments
achieved by our employees, our suppliers and our customer, Cathay
Pacific Airways,” said Lou Mancini, vice president and
general manager for Boeing Commercial Aviation Services.
This is the first time Boeing has conducted a major flight test
program outside the United States. It will be done by a Boeing
flight test crew on site in Hong Kong in cooperation with Hong
Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways, along with HAECO and TAECO,
aircraft maintenance and engineering companies based in Hong Kong
and Xiamen respectively. The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department is
The Boeing flight test crew plans to accumulate up to 200 hours
of in-flight testing, which includes a prescribed and rigorous
routine of scenarios that will certify the airplane's fire
detection and suppression systems. The 747-400BCF is the first
major Boeing program to be certified in accordance with the new
U.S. Federal Aviation Authority Changed Product Rule.
Redelivery to Cathay Pacific Airways is scheduled for
747-400 Boeing Converted Freighter History
Engineering and support work began at Boeing facilities in the
Puget Sound area of Washington State, Long Beach, Calif., and
Moscow, Russia, shortly after Boeing's decision to offer the
conversion to customers in October 2003.
Boeing announced Cathay Pacific Airways as launch customer in
January 2004. The program was then called the 747-400 Special
Freighter, and was recently renamed the 747-400 Boeing Converted
Freighter to signify a passenger-to-freighter conversion that takes
advantage of Boeing's technical expertise, program management
skills, certification experience and aftermarket support. The
747-400BCF demonstrates Boeing's ability in large-scale systems
integration within a lean, global enterprise.
The first modification kit of components was fabricated,
assembled and shipped to Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering
(TAECO) in Xiamen in December 2004, and TAECO began hands-on
conversion work in early 2005. By April, a modification crew
removed a large section of the aft left fuselage of the passenger
airplane and later installed a main-deck cargo door in the opening.
This dramatic step in the conversion process is one of many that
took place through September, and included replacing and
strengthening fuselage frames, replacing the airplane's floor beams
to receive a cargo-handling system and upgrading or replacing its
airplane systems and flight deck.
Following approximately a month of ground testing, the airplane
was readied for its first flight from Xiamen to Hong Kong.