News about Boeing has been focused on the 737 MAX that began recertification flights on Monday. However, flying the 737 MAX isn’t the only thing Boeing has been up to this week. The manufacturer today airlifted half a million masks to Utah using one of its giant modified 747 Dreamlifter aircraft.
Boeing has a small fleet of giant freight aircraft. These aircraft, based on the 747, are typically employed to ferry 787 Dreamliner components to their respective final assembly line. However, recently Boeing has begun using its Dreamlifter fleet for another purpose altogether. The US aerospace manufacturer has been using the aircraft for humanitarian missions.
Half a million masks
Boeing flew half a million masks to Utah today. The shipment originated in Japan and is destined for students and teachers within Utah school districts. Many major companies worked together to make the delivery possible, from clothing stores to UPS.
The masks delivered were purchased by two companies unrelated to the aviation industry. Half of the 500,000 masks were purchased by H.M. Cole, a custom clothing store. Meanwhile, the other 250,000 masks were purchased by Cotopaxi, a Salt Lake City outdoor equipment brand.
Atlas Air operated the Boeing Dreamlifter flight. Meanwhile, UPS will now work to distribute the masks across Utah. Boeing picked up the cost of transporting the masks across the Pacific Ocean.
The mask delivery was part of Utah’s ‘A Mask For Every Utahn’ campaign. David Calhoun, Boeing President, and CEO commented,
“Boeing is proud to continue to use our resources to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Today’s delivery, our 12th COVID-19 response airlift mission, expands our support of essential workers to include teachers and their students across the state of Utah so they have the protective tools they need to safely and confidently return to their classrooms.”
The flight plan
Getting the masks to Utah wasn’t as easy as fly to Japan and back. The manufacturer used a 28.4 year old converted Boeing 747 for the mission, registered as N747BC. While Airbus’ Beluga fleet is built for its sole purpose, Boeing’s Dreamlifter is not new. It was initially delivered to Air China back in 1992.
Before collecting the masks, the aircraft was at Boeing’s Everett facility. On June 29th, flew to Anchorage and then on to Nagoya. In Nagoya, the plane collected its 0.5 million mask consignment. The masks were loaded into the lower lobe of the aircraft. It departed Nagoya at 23:27 on June 30th, touching down in Anchorage at 12:45 following a six-hour 19-minute flight.
Following a stop in Anchorage, the aircraft then departed for Salt Lake City at 03:15 this morning. After flying for four-hours and 12-minutes, it touched down in Salt Lake City at 09:41 this morning. Having dropped off its precious cargo, the aircraft is now repositioning to Charleston, which earlier said goodbye to British Airways’ second Boeing 787-10.
Will you benefit from today’s mask delivery? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!