The Boeing 747-400 is a major development and the best-selling model of the Boeing 747 family of jet airliners. While retaining the four-engine wide-body layout of its predecessors, the 747-400 embodies numerous technological and structural changes to produce a more efficient airframe. Its most distinguishing features versus preceding 747 models are 6-foot (1.8 m) winglets mounted on 6-foot (1.8 m) wing tip extensions, which are found on all 747-400s except for Japanese domestic market versions.
The 747-400 is equipped with a two-crew glass cockpit, which dispenses with the need for a flight engineer, along with more fuel-efficient engines, a horizontal stabilizer fuel tank, and revised fuselage/wing fairings. The aircraft also features an all-new interior with upgraded in-flight entertainment architecture. As on the 747-300, passenger variants include a stretched upper deck as standard. The model has a maximum capacity of 660 passengers with the 747-400D variant, and can fly non-stop for up to 7,670 nautical miles (14,200 km), depending on model.
Northwest Airlines first placed the 747-400 in commercial service in February 1989. The 747-400 was produced in passenger (−400), freighter (−400F), combi (−400C), domestic (−400D), extended range passenger (−400ER) and extended range freighter (−400ERF) versions. The 747-400 is the second-most recent version of the Boeing 747 aircraft family, to be superseded by the more economical and advanced Boeing 747-8. The last −400 model was delivered in December 2009.
The original variant of the redesigned 747, the 747-400 debuted an increased wingspan, winglets, revised engines, and a glass cockpit which removed the need for a flight engineer. The type also featured a stretched upper deck (SUD) like the 747-300 as a standard feature. The passenger model formed the bulk of 747-400s sold, and 442 were built.
In 1989, a Qantas 747-400 flew non-stop from London to Sydney, a distance of 9,720 nmi (11,190 mi, 18,001 km), in 20 hours and 9 minutes to set a commercial aircraft world distance record. This was a delivery flight with no commercial passengers or freight aboard. During testing, the first 747-400 built also set a world record for the heaviest airliner takeoff on June 27, 1988, on a flight to simulate heavy-weight stalls. The flight had a takeoff weight of 892,450 pounds (404,810 kg), and in order to satisfy Fédération Aéronautique Internationale regulations, the aircraft climbed to a height of 6,562 feet (2,000 m).
The 747-400F (Freighter) is an all freight version which uses the fuselage design of the 747-200F. The aircraft's first flight was on May 4, 1993, and it entered service with Cargolux on November 17, 1993. Major customers included Atlas Air, Cargolux, China Airlines, Korean Air, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, and Singapore Airlines. The −400F can be easily distinguished from the passenger −400 by its shorter upper-deck hump.
The 747-400F has a main deck nose door and a mechanized cargo handling system. The nose door swings up so that pallets or containers up to 40 ft (12 m) can be loaded straight in on motor-driven rollers. An optional main deck side cargo door (like the 747-400M (Combi)) allows loading of dimensionally taller cargo modules. Boeing delivered 126 Boeing 747-400F aircraft with no unfilled orders as of November 2009. The last −400F was delivered to Nippon Cargo Airlines.
The 747-400M (a passenger/freight or "Combi" variant) first flew on June 30, 1989 and entered service with KLM on September 12, 1989. Based on the successful Combi versions of the Classic 747s, the −400M has a large cargo door fitted to the rear of the fuselage for freight loading to the aft main deck cargo hold. A locked partition separates the cargo area from the forward passenger cabin, and the −400M also features additional fire protection, a strengthened main deck floor, a roller-conveyor system, and passenger-to-cargo conversion equipment. The last 747-400M was delivered to KLM on April 10, 2002.
The 747-400D (Domestic) is a high density seating model developed for short-haul domestic Japanese flights. The aircraft is capable of seating a maximum of 568 passengers in a 2-class configuration or 660 passengers in a single-class configuration.
The −400D lacks the wing tip extensions and winglets included on other variants. The benefits of winglets would be minimal on short routes. The −400D may be converted to the long range version when needed. The 747-400D is also unusual in having more windows on both sides of the upper deck than the basic −400 series. This allows for additional seating all the way down the upper deck, where a galley is situated on most international models. In total, 19 of the type were built, and the last was delivered to All Nippon Airways in December 1995.
The 747-400ER (Extended Range) was launched on November 28, 2000 following an order by Qantas for six aircraft. This was ultimately the only order for the passenger version. The −400ER can fly an additional 500 miles (805 km) or carry 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) more freight. Qantas received the first −400ER on October 31, 2002. The 747-400ER included the option of one or two additional 3,240 US gallon body fuel tanks in the forward cargo hold. Manufactured by Marshall Aerospace, these tanks utilized metal to metal honeycomb-bonded technology to achieve a high dry weight-to-fuel volume ratio. Similar technology has been used in the development by Marshall of body fuel tanks for the 777-200LR and P-8A Poseidon.
The 747-400ERF (747-400ER Freighter) is the freight version of the −400ER, launched on April 30, 2001. The 747-400ERF is similar to the 747-400F, except for increased gross weight capability which allows it to carry more cargo weight. Unlike the 747-400F, the type is not fitted with the cargo compartment fuel tanks. The 747-400ERF has a maximum takeoff weight of 910,000 pounds (412,769 kg) and a maximum payload of 248,600 pounds (112,760 kg). It offers the cargo airline the choice of either adding 22,000 pounds (9,980 kg) more payload than other 747-400 freighters, or adding 525 nautical miles (972 km) to the maximum range.
The type has a maximum range of 5,700 miles (9,200 km), about 326 miles (525 km) farther than other 747-400 freighters, and has a strengthened fuselage, landing gear and parts of its wing, along with new, larger tires. The first −400ERF was delivered to Air France (via ILFC) on October 17, 2002. Boeing has delivered 40 Boeing 747-400ERFs with no outstanding orders as of 2009. The last 747-400 was a −400ERF delivered on December 22, 2009. The new 747-8 Freighter will have more payload capacity but less range than the 747-400ERF.
The 747-400BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter), formerly known as the 747-400SF (Special Freighter), is a conversion program for standard passenger 747-400s. The project was launched in 2004 and will be done by approved contractors such as TAECO, KAL Aerospace and SIA Engineering. The first Boeing 747-400BCF was redelivered to Cathay Pacific Cargo and entered service on December 19, 2005.
The 747-400BDSF (Bedek Special Freighter) is another converted version freighter by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The first 747-400BDSF was redelivered to Air China Cargo.
Boeing announced in October 2003 that because of the amount of time involved with marine shipping, air transport will be the primary method of transporting parts for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Pre-owned passenger 747-400 aircraft have been converted into an outsize, "Large Cargo Freighter" (LCF) configuration to ferry sub-assemblies to Everett, Washington for final assembly. The LCF has a bulging fuselage similar to that of the Super Guppy or Airbus Beluga cargo planes used for transporting wings and fuselage sections.
The conversion, designed by Boeing engineers from Puget Sound, Moscow and Canoga Park, Cal., and Gamesa Aeronáutica in Spain, is carried out in Taiwan by a subsidiary of the Evergreen Group.Boeing has purchased four second-hand aircraft and had them all converted; the fourth and final LCF took its first flight in January 2010.
Delivery times will be reduced from up to 30 days to as low as a day with the 747 LCF. The LCF can hold three times the volume of a 747-400F freighter. The LCF is not a Boeing production model and will not be sold to any customers or see any airliner operation. The LCFs are for Boeing's exclusive use.
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