The more of these side view aircraft templates I create, the more I learn about myself and the way I like to work. I mean, it was only a week ago that I declared (at the end of my post about the 747-300) that my next templates would be for the 777X series. Yet here I am posting side view illustrations of the Boeing 737-800BCF. The hell?
I promise that the templates for both the 777-8 and -9 are well underway! However, my attention span is declining with each and every year and I’m having a really hard time focusing on one thing at a time. Especially when it’s something that is very complex and takes weeks to complete. My brain works a LOT faster than that, and I really feel like I need to be publishing content all the time in order to feel completely satisfied. That’s how I got sidetracked with these 737-800BCF illustrations.
A brief history of the Boeing 737-800BCF
The Boeing 737-800BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) is an all-cargo variant of the standard 737-800. All conversion work is done by Boeing under their passenger-to-freighter conversion program, which converts used passenger aircraft into dedicated freighters.
The cost of a conversion from passenger plane to dedicated freighter is far cheaper than purchasing a brand new freighter right off the assembly line, and it’s a relatively economical way for cargo operators to quickly build a large fleet of aircraft which fits their exact requirements.
Launched in 2016, the first 737-800BCF was delivered to West Atlantic in 2018. At the time of this writing, there have been 80 confirmed orders from six airlines. FYI, we’ll be seeing many of these things here in the US over the coming years with FedEx and Prime Air.
What are the visual differences between a 737-800 and 737-800BCF?
- All windows are plugged
- All over wing emergency exits are plugged
- A large cargo door (140” x 86”) on the left hand side of the aircraft is situated just forward of the wing (hinged at the top)
- I believe that the “eyebrow” windows above the cockpit windows are removed during the conversion process (if the plane was equipped with them). Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.
And that’s pretty much it. Even though there are a number of internal upgrades which increase its MTOW to 174,000 lb (79,000 kg), the exterior of the plane is relatively unchanged from the base 737-800.
The only thing that I’m unsure about is the winglet configuration. 99% of all reference pictures that I’ve seen show aircraft fitted with blended winglets. I did see a few examples without winglets, and none with the split scimitar design.
Other neat facts about the 737-800BCF:
- It’s designed to fly 1,995 nmi (3,695 km)
- It can hold up to 52,700 lb (23,904 kg) on the main deck
- It can accommodate up to 5 passenger seats
- The main deck cargo compartment provides up to 5,000 cubic feet (141.5 cubic meters) of cargo capacity
- The lower cargo compartments (below the main deck) provide up to 1,540 cubic feet (43.7 cubic meters) of cargo capacity
As I mentioned earlier, I am indeed working on the 777X templates and I hope to have them complete within the next several weeks. Just know that I might be sneaking in a few other quick templates before posting those, because there are so many “quickies” that I can do along the way.
This 737-800BCF was one such quickie, since I already had the base template drawn and all I needed to do was modify it to freighter configuration. Besides, I consider it to be an important set of templates to create since 737-based freighters are likely to become a very popular type over the next several decades.
Stay tuned for more!