September 10, 2006 The Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter took to the skies for the first time yesterday, initiating the flight test program that will culminate in U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification. The two-hour, four-minute flight was the first of 250 expected flight test hours for the unique freighter, a specially modified 747-400 that has been created with the sole intention of transporting major composite structures of the all-new 787 Dreamliner. The enormous 747-400 LCF has an enlarged upper fuselage that can accommodate three times the cargo by volume 65,000 cubic feet (1,845 cu m) of a standard 747-400 freighter. Moving major 787 assemblies by air to the 787s Everett, Wash. final assembly facility could save 20 to 40 percent compared to traditional shipping methods, and reduce delivery times to as little as one day from as many as 30 today. Such savings will allow Boeing to recoup its initial investment in the 747s during the first few years of 787 production.
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