Bedek-GECAS 777-300ERSF freighter prototype to be completed in the next four months

Romain Guillot
le 27/10/2021 , Maintenance aéronautique
The "Big Twin" program launched by GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in October 2019 has taken a new step with the cutting of its fuselage for the installation of a cargo door leading to the main deck.

The part of the cabin Removed from the aircraft is 7 meters long and a third of the aircraft's circumference. This important milestone comes shortly after the beginning of the aircraft's structural modification, a process that will take approximately 130 days.

The 777-300ERSF (Special Freighter) program had completed its critical design review and the first aircraft modification kits were released in April. In addition to the addition of a cargo loading door (146.5 x 120 inches), associated fuselage reinforcements, a freight loading system and modifications relating to freight transport (9g rigid bulkhead, deactivation of 8 doors, fire detection system...), the program obviously includes the replacement of the famous composite floor beams by aluminum beams. GECAS and IAI also specify that the new floor will be able to support up to 222,000 pounds, or 100.6 tonnes. In addition, this process includes receiving certification for the converted aircraft from the Civilian Aviation Authority and the US' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"Completing the B777-300ER conversion on time and according to the planned schedule is at the top of the Aviation Group's priorities. Today, we mark an exciting step in the prototype's conversion," said Executive VP and General Manager of IAI's Aviation Group, Yossi Melamed. "Cutting the aircraft's haul for the new cargo door is a prime example, reflective of the cargo conversions at IAI, which significantly advances our development process for this conversion. This step will allow us, in the near future and with increased confidence, to establish more conversion lines all over the world in order to provide services to the dozens of existing orders and to many more expected orders to come."

As a reminder, the prototype of the "Big Twin" landed in Tel Aviv in June 2020. This 777-300ER (MSN 32789, ex-A6-EBB) was leased by Emirates from GECAS for 15 years. Its end customer will be the American company Kalitta Air (five contracted aircraft).

The 777-300ERSF is clearly targeting taking over from the 747-400F and operators who transport low volume weight freight, such as express parcel transport specialists and people involved in e-commerce. According to GECAS and IAI, the 777-300ERSF will burn 21% less fuel per tonne in relation to the 747-400F while offering 25% more volume than the 777 Freighter. Its range will be 4650 nautical miles (8600 km) at full payload (a maximum 101.6 tonnes of freight).

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