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Guest BeaverDriver

For the Freighter Fans

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I've been watching for a while now (and waiting until it seemed a sure thing) about Boeing starting conversions on the 737NG series to freighter configurations. It does now appear a certainty as I believe the first ones are due to be delivered this fall or winter (if not sooner). I'll provide links to my main sources below. It would appear as though the 737-800BCF is a done deal, and from what I can see on Boeing's site, it looks also like the -700 will have a "C" designation ("Convertible"). So for us freight guys, this is good news.

 

For folks who paint, PMDG (via their paint kit) has actually made it quite easy to repaint any of the NGX's to look like a freighter. What you have to do is de-select the window line in the paint kit, but also take out the windows in the alpha channels for each of the 3 panels of the fuselage (leave the door windows in though). If you're doing the 737-800, then you want to paint in the door frame, starting between the first and second windows and extending back 7 full windows (so the rear of the door frame is between window 7 and 8). The bottom of the door is slightly below the main passenger door sill and the top goes pretty much up on the roof of the aircraft. Check out the pics in the provided links for more specifics. The -700 I'm less sure of in terms of door placement, so you'll have to do your own research on that. In both cases, you'll need to move the static ports ahead of the freight door. Of course, you won't get any animation from the new freight door, but that's life.

 

Anyway, sorry if this is old news but I thought I'd post it for anyone who hasn't seen it but is interested in primarily freight hauling. My links then:

 

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeing-launches-737-800bcf-programme-422323/

 

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/freighters/

 

There are other pics online if you search for Boeing 737-800 freighter conversions (the Chinese Postal System I believe is the launch customer but I'm not certain on that - worth searching using those search terms though).

 

Glenn Davy

 

PS - NOTE: Please don't anyone read into this post as being a large and obvious "hint" at PMDG to re-do the 737NGX in a freighter config. My guess is that would be a pretty major change (not like what it would have been a couple of years back where the only freighter conversion was based off the BBJ, but still...) and it would mean revisiting and revising a well established line - not an easy thing to do. This is purely for our info only and to show that while we don't have a freight door that actually opens or that we do have to use "passengers" as cargo for our loading, that's just about all we're missing from what I can tell (at least to the naked eye). This is solely intended for repainters that are gung-ho about freighters as I am. Now, if they do it, I WILL buy it, but let's not have this post as a catalyst to bug the beejeebers out of PMDG for an NGX-F, ok? Thanks :smile:

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Pretty sure you'd also have to modify the texture near the pilot's window to make a passenger 737 into a freighter, freighter coversions usually have a big cockpit window exit added, so that if they crash or land heavily and the load displaces and slides forward, and jams up against the cockpit door, you can still get out of the cockpit. I'll check that out though as I could be wrong. Freighters usually have a big High-G resistant webbing curtain near the cockpit to hopefully prevent cargo from doing that, but I think the big cockpit exit window is another precaution they add when doing a conversion.

 

You may recall that when Turkish airlines Flight 1951 (a 737-800 NG) bellied in at Schiphol short of the runway in 2009, the rescuers could not get to the crew for several hours because of being unable to access the cockpit, and they were pretty sure at least one of them would have survived if he could have had medical attention sooner. They could have done that if it had been one with a big cockpit exit like freighters have.

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This is great news for us freightdawgs.  :smile:

I'm hoping some of the more recognizable freight carriers will pick them up.

I'd be interested in moving the 777F paints I've done (some depicted in my sig) to her little sis' if they start flying them. :wink:  

I think the routes they'd fly vs the big freighters would exciting (and a welcome change to the typical routes I fly).

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@Alan - From the pics off Boeing's site I don't see any changes in the window design, but those may be artists renditions. We aren't going to get it perfect, but at least now it's a realistic option for repainters

 

@Steve - I was trying to see who all has 737-800BCF's on order, but outside of China I can't find any info. If you happen to come across anything, please let me know; and I'll keep looking at this end. By the by, I've seen your work on repaints - really outstanding (if I didn't say that already)!

 

Update - on the Boeing site there is a really good pic of the 737-800BCF. I think I had the freighter door in the wrong position. It appears as though the door is between windows 4 and 5, and still runs the width of 7 windows, with the aft part of the frame between windows 11 and 12 (if my math serves).

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AS is currently in the process of converting some of its B737-700s to freighters.

 

blaustern

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This could be a good platform for paints of real world 737-400F operators...closest we have at this point anyway.

 

Dave Reage

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