The 747-8F or 747-8 Freighter is an all-cargo transport variant of the 747-8 jet aircraft developed by Boeing. It is the only in-production commercial cargo aircraft with a nose door, which ensures flexible loading of outsized cargo.

It made its first flight in February 2010 and received an amended type certificate (ATC) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in August 2011. The first 747-8F entered service with Cargolux in October 2011.

The 747-8F fleet has accumulated more than 500,000 flight hours and 88,000 flight cycles to date.

747-8F orders and deliveries

F-15SE Silent Eagle is an upgraded version of the F-15 Strike Eagle aircraft, being developed by Boeing for international customers.

Boeing received a total of 71 orders for 747-8F by April 2015, of which 57 aircraft were delivered to nine customers including AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cargolux Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Korean Air, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Silk Way Airlines and Volga-Dnepr.

Silk Way West, an airlines company based in Azerbaijan, placed a $1.1bn order with Boeing for three 747-8 Freighters in March 2015.

Cargolux received its 12th 747-8 Freighter from Boeing in March 2015. It placed multiple contracts for a total of 14 747-8Fs by February 2014.

Design and features of 747-8F

The airframe of 747-8F is built with advanced materials, including carbon composites, advanced aluminium alloys and Titanium, which provide more durability and resistance against corrosion and damage.

Incorporated into the re-designed wing design are double and single slotted flaps, fly-by-wire spoilers and outboard ailerons, and raked wingtips for reducing aerodynamic drag.

The 747-8F has a length of 76.3m, wingspan of 68.4m and height of 19.4m. Its maximum take-off weight is 447t and maximum revenue payload is 137t.

Flight deck

The flight deck features a Rockwell Collins avionics suite integrating a new flight management computer, a vertical situation display (VSD), DU-7001 liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, future air navigation system (FANS)-2 data link, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) landing system, WXR-2100 MultiScan hazard detection system, integrated approach navigation and an airport moving map (AMM).

Also included in the avionics package is a communication management unit, VHF and HF transceivers, VHF omni-directional radio, distance measuring equipment (DME), automatic direction finder (ADF), multi-mode receiver, Mode S transponder, cockpit voice and flight data recorders, as well as emergency locator transmitter (ELT), and a data management unit.

Cargo capacity of the Boeing freighter aircraft

“The 747-8F fleet accumulated more than 500,000 flight hours and 88,000 flight cycles to date.”

The 747-8F offers a volume of 853m³, which allows the carriage of 16% more revenue cargo volume than its predecessor 747-400F. The additional 120m³ of volume offered by the cargo hold allows the aircraft to carry four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets.

A significant loading flexibility with a large side cargo door and a unique nose door is delivered by the aircraft. This allows rapid and easy loading/off-loading of standard containers and pallets or outsized cargo. The improved cargo handling system further ensures efficient loading and unloading of cargo.

747-8 Freighter engine and performance

The aircraft is powered by four GEnx-2B67 engines, which are capable of generating a continuous thrust of 66,500lb each. The engine is fitted with dual chevrons for reduced noise during take-off. Seventeen per cent more fuel-efficiency is guaranteed from the power plant than the 747-400F, resulting in a 17% reduction in carbon emissions.

Boeing also delivered 747-8Fs with performance-improved engines under the performance improvement package (PIP) programme. The engines improve aircraft’s efficiency by 1.8%.

The 747-8F also offers 30% less noise footprint than the 747-400F, enabling it to comply with the QC2 requirements for arrival and departure.

It has a cruise speed of Mach 0.85 and can reach an altitude of more than 43,000ft. The design range of the aircraft is 8,185km (4,390nm).

Defence Technology