The Boeing 747-400ER is a long-range large-capacity passenger aircraft.
At the end of 1993, Boeing proposed to increase the take-off mass of the 747-400 aircraft, first to 397.2 tons, and then to 417.6 tons. But this required a significant strengthening of the structure, and the company stopped further work. In the early 1990s, a 747-X aircraft project appeared, which in terms of the number of seats was to take a place between the 747-400 aircraft and the promising VLCT aircraft with 600-700 seats. In 1995, Boeing proposed two versions of the aircraft with a new wing of about 74 m in size. The 747-500X variant was a slightly elongated 747-400 aircraft and could carry 440-450 passengers in a three-class cabin for a range of 16,000 km (10,000 miles). Option 747-600X had a fuselage 80 m long and was designed to carry 540 passengers per 13500 km (8400 miles) in the cabin of three classes. The cost of the development program amounted to $ 7 billion, at the same time, the new aircraft did not provide the customers’ required reduction in operating costs by 15%. Due to the lack of orders, in early 1997 the company “froze” the work on these projects.
Active promotion of the A380 jet airbus (formerly A3XX) to the Airbus Group forced Boeing to offer the same customers new 747-400 models. Upgraded aircraft should be developed faster and cost less than the European SuperJumbo. The first in the 747s of the 21st century was the Boeing 747-400X, a long-range passenger aircraft.
The Boeing 747-400X is a modification of the new generation of the 747-400 model. The aircraft has become more economical while improving flight performance. With the same dimensions as the 747-400, the maximum take-off weight of the Longer-Range model increased to 412,770 kg. A new aircraft can fly 500 km further, or translate 6,800 kg more payload. In a 3-class configuration, the aircraft can carry 23 passengers in the first class, 78 in the business class, and 315 in the economy class at a distance of 7,690 nautical miles (14,240 kilometers). The aircraft can also be transformed into a short-range Domestic modification with a passenger capacity of 568 people.
The 747-400X has reinforced wings from the Boeing 747-400 Freighter modification, a more durable fuselage, and landing gear. One of the two additional fuel tanks is removable and instead of it, it is possible to load an additional 10 cargo containers. It is planned to install Pratt & Whitney 4062, Rolls-Royce RB211-524H6-T-19, or General Electric CF6-80C2B5F turbofan engines on the aircraft.
On November 28, 2000, Boeing announced the launch of the Longer-Range 747-400. The former name 747-400X has been replaced by the 747-400ER. Soon, the Australian airline “Qantas Airways” placed an order for 6 airliners 747-400ER. The first of them went on the track in 2002.
The 747-400ER hybrid model was created on the initiative of the current President of America, George W. Bush, the US government has created a new version of the Presidential Air Force-1 aircraft. The new model of the President’s specially equipped aircraft, a modified Boeing 747-400 (Boeing 747-400), uses a combination of flexible fuel and hybrid technology, due to which the developers were able to increase fuel efficiency during the flight.
As we know, George W. Bush has developed an energy plan for the efficient use of existing and alternative energy sources, so this aircraft was the first step towards realizing the goal. At a congressional Congress, Bush said: “For the sake of our safety, prosperity and the environment, we must reduce our oil needs. In the past, Bush suggested using switchgrass for automobile fuel and clean coal for heating buildings. Constantly rising prices for oil made many Americans think about saving fuel oil.The results of this policy pleased the US government already in 2007, because this year the most record number of hybrid cars were sold – around 2.4 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States (data provided by J.D. Power & Associates).
Why did they design the Air Force-1 Hybrid and why? “An airplane – like an eagle – is a symbol of the United States,” said one Air Force spokesman. “The creation of this aircraft, as it were, suggests that our country wants to become a leader in alternative fuel technology.”
The new Air Force-1 Hybrid aircraft will begin to operate at the end of 2008. He will replace at the post of his predecessors, two 747-200Bs aircraft (aircraft numbers 28000 and 29000). The number of new jet aircraft is 40108-N.
The new VVS-1 hybrid aircraft is just a modified Boeing 747-400ER, a popular version of the classic jetliner. The previous aircraft model for President Boeing 747-400ER was powered by four engines and could fly into the air about 63,300 pounds (28,710 kg) of cargo. Initially, according to the Ministry of Defense spokesman Vivian Blanchard, the government planned to create a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that would use fuel more efficiently than other passenger aircraft. The Boeing Aircraft Company says its Dreamliner is 20 percent more fuel-efficient than other planes. Designed primarily for carrying passengers, Dreamliner can carry from 210 to 290 passengers depending on the location, however, the number of seats for a presidential plane is much less. The new passenger Boeing 787 can cover distances of 14,200 – 15,750 km.
Blanchard also said that at the initial stage they had to solve several problems that arose: “during the construction of Air Force-1 Hybrid, we noticed that to protect the president and satisfy all his requirements, we needed to create a larger aircraft than we planned But the construction of the new case and the installation of all the necessary batteries took too much time. We did not have time to cope with our tasks on time. Then we moved on to plan B.
The most important task of the engineers was to install a hybrid energy system. The new Air Force-1 Hybrid aircraft, in addition to four conventional jet engines, uses more than 2,000 lead batteries. This means that the aircraft’s engines operate both at the expense of fuel and the expense of batteries, due to which the developers managed to achieve efficient use of fuel.
To consume as little fossil fuel as possible, a new engine was installed in the Air Force-1 Hybrid, which operates through a flexible fuel system. Every day, a special team collects used cooking oil from the White House, the Capitol (US Congress Building), and other buildings owned by the US government. Then this oil is purified and used as biofuel. In those areas where it is not possible to collect the required amount of such biofuels, jet fuel is used.
Since the main task of the Presidential Air Force-1 aircraft is to deliver the President to different parts of the world, he must be designed for long distances. A typical Boeing 747-400ER can carry up to 63,500 gallons of fuel (240,370 liters). This is enough to get, for example, from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia. The hybrid model, Blanchard said, can cover such a distance with only one jet fuel. Due to the parallel hybrid system, the new aircraft can fly another 500 miles (805 km).
Colonel Branch Hevard of the presidential air transportation group, Andrews Air Force Base, said he liked the new Air Force-1 model. “It is smooth, like silk, however, when you leave it, there is a strange feeling and the engine smells hot.”
Blanchard expects the new VVS-1 hybrid aircraft to consume at least 15 to 20 percent less fuel than all its predecessors. “We will not stop there, in the future we plan to increase fuel efficiency by a few percents,” she said.
All the batteries used in the Air Force-1 Hybrid are simply huge, but how did the developers of this aircraft find a place for an entire hybrid power plant in it?
Air Force-1 aircraft began to produce since 1943. These were the first aircraft intended for the president of the United States. And, even though this name is just a military designation for any aircraft carrying the American president, it, like the aircraft themselves, has attracted the attention of people around the world. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to use this aircraft to visit other countries. The first aircraft of the Air Force-1 was the Boeing 314 Clipper. Then in 1962, another model appeared – the Boeing 707-320B – the first jet aircraft of the Air Force of America.
The 747-400ER hybrid model is very similar to the 747-200s that used to be used to transport the US Commander-in-Chief around the world. It has advanced aviation systems installed, it is capable of refueling in the air and there is enough space for government personnel, guards, and the press. The previous two 747s models have been in operation for 18 years, while the VVS-1 hybrid model will be used until a new modified model with hybrid technology appears. According to Blanchard, this does not have to wait so many years, since it will take eight to 14 months to create a new model. “This is expensive technology and it takes time to test it,” she says. “But the developers will do their best and try to do it as quickly as possible.”
Blanchard also said that the government had difficulty managing to keep the development of this aircraft model secret until its debut. “A lot of qualified specialists worked on the creation of the new aircraft, the project itself was kept in strict secrecy. And although this aircraft model seems to be quite ordinary, the developers significantly improved its configuration.”
The designers had to rack their brains over how to make room for the zinc batteries needed for the engines to work. To do this, it was necessary to remove one of the two kitchens. Nevertheless, there is a first-aid kit, a communication system, self-defense systems, and a bar with cold snacks and drinks on board the aircraft.
“Unfortunately, we also had to remove the bowling alley,” Blanchard said. “President Bush is not a big fan of knocking down a skittle, which can not be said about some of his assistants. We hope that Condoleezza Rice (US Secretary of State) is not very upset, because it’s more enjoyable to roll balls along the track on the ground.”
- Modification: Boeing 747-400ER
- Wingspan, m: 64.44
- The length of the aircraft, m: 70.66
- The height of the aircraft, m: 19.38
- Wing Area, m2: 560.00
- Weight kg: empty loaded aircraft 176700; maximum take-off 396890
- Engine type: 4 turbofan General Electric CF6-80C2B5F (Pratt Whitney PW4062)
- Draft, kgs: 4 x 27945 (28710)
- Maximum speed, km / h: 987
- Cruising speed, km / h: 930
- Practical range, km: 14340
- Practical ceiling, m: 13720
- Crew: 2
- Payload: 416 passengers in a 3-class configuration or 528 in a 2 class configuration.