Boeing is at it again. Last year in June I wrote about a system Boeing patented for charging drones midair. This time they have patented a revolutionary way to transport regular 40 feet shipping containers via airplane. Yes, you have read that right: regular shipping containers. Containers used to be shipped by, well, ship and it would take days or weeks for your containers to arrive at the end destination. No longer. Boeing intends to shorten that lead time to hours. Ship regular containers via Air Freight. But how?
This is Boeing, so it obviously involves a new type of plane that they will build. The plane will be able to pick up and carry regular shipping containers. The containers are placed transversed and in a row on the tarmac. The plane will taxi over the containers with the cargo hold aligned with the row of containers. It will then lower itself onto the containers and locks the containers into place with twist lock fasteners in the cargo hold. The bottom of the containers become the bottom of the plane. The plane then rises again and taxis to the runway where it can take off straight away. Please see some drawings from the patent below:
Lowell Campbell, one of the filers of the patent, has commented on the market this type of plane is for:
The market is people who pay expedited shipping, no matter the weight of the object they are shipping, they are just in a hurry. The airplane owners will charge the freight forwarder per pound which will encourage using lightweight containers. But the airplane itself does not care if the weight is containers or the stuff inside the containers. If you are concerned about weight, you are going to wait for a ship to carry your load. If you are in a hurry, and nothing else matters, put your stuff in this airplane.