LCF Conversions is the trade name for the programme to convert Boeing and Airbus 3rd and 4th Generation Medium Wide Bodied (MWB) passenger aircraft to alternative-use configurations. LCF Conversions is a subsidiary company of the Eolia Group. The Eolia Group was established in 2003 for the specific purpose of investing in passenger to freighter conversion programmes. Investment in a 747–400 conversion programme was the Group's first such investment. This programme is managed through a joint-venture company PSF Conversions (www.psfconversions.com) and today a fleet of PSF converted 747–400 aircraft are in operation with leading cargo operators.
Extensive and selected industry research together with preliminary design of the LCF concept was first commissioned by the Eolia Group in 2010. In June 2011 LCF commenced Phase 1 of the programme to develop and obtain Supplemental Type Certificates (STC's) from both the USA's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the LCF programme.
To date, 1/3rd of the STC programme for both the Airbus and Boeing LCF solutions is now completed and an implementation framework to complete the certification (FAA & EASA) on all LCF configurations is in place. We have developed a good understanding of our cost-to-market and how we will execute the LCF programme.
Eolia has secured US patent rights (US patent No: 8,011.617) on certain features of the LCF design. We have now made application to extend the patent protection to other jurisdictions and as appropriate, we continue to seek patent protection for innovative solutions that we develop as part of the continuing LCF design and certification process.
The LCF concept was developed by our design & certification associates (ACE Corp - Seattle) who, having worked on previous non-OEM widebody conversion programmes with us specifically on conversion of the A300-B4, A300-600 and the 747-400 aircraft, felt that a different approach was required for modification of the 3rd and 4th generation widebody airframes. Something less invasive than the approach that has been adopted to date and something that captured the in-built (freighter) capabilities of the 3rd generation passenger airframes without embarking on expensive re-modelling and in a word, focusing on alternative-use solutions that are 'affordable'.
ACE has been involved in a number of successful conversion and major modification programmes, both with independent companies and with the leading OEMs', Airbus and Boeing.
LCF Conversions is also working with ANCRA, a world class cargo loading system (CLS) supplier, to design, manufacture and certify (separate STC) a low weight CLS system for the LCF programme. The CLS system for the LCF conversion is based on the use of components already proven to be highly reliable in other cargo operations which, when installed in aircraft as part of the LCF conversion, results in reduced weight and cost (and increased payload).
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