The first aircraft was delivered to MAE in April 2007 and has since undergone a complex customised conversion.
© ST Aero
RNZAF initially used the aircraft to transport troops and VIPs but wanted the aircraft to take on a multi-mission role.
To meet the RNZAF requirement, MAE has reconfigured the cabin and installed a cargo door, crew access ladder as well as a military avionics suite.
MAE president Joseph Ng says the RNZAF will be able to operate the aircraft in an all-passenger configuration with 142 economy and 18 business class seats or in an all-cargo configuration with 11 pallet positions. The interior picture here shows the business class seats.
Ng says the 757 can also now be operated in a variety of mixed configurations, including a 138 seat and 2 pallet combination. The aircraft is also now equipped to handle aeromedical evacuations.
ST Aero president Tay Kok Khiang says MAE is now halfway done with converting RNZAF’s second 757. This aircraft is scheduled to be-redelivered in the fourth quarter of this year.
ST Aero was originally contracted to re-deliver the first 757 to RNZAF in the second quarter of 2007. Tay says the re-delivery was first pushed back to January 2008 due to contract changes and a redefinition of the programme which resulted in a postponement in the induction of the first aircraft.
He says a second delay in the re-delivery from January 2008 to August 2008 was “mutually agreed” to by ST Aero and RNZAF after the aircraft arrived at MAE. Tay explains this delay was needed to address “numerous challenges” that arose from this “complex” conversion.
Yesterday’s redelivery marks the start of a new chapter in ST Aero’s 757 cargo conversion programme. ST Aero along with partner Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) initially converted 34 757s for DHL early this decade as part of a Boeing-led cargo conversion programme.
ST Aero re-launched the programme as a prime contractor in 2005 after securing a two-aircraft order from RNZAF. Early last year it also secured an order for 87 757-200 passenger-to-freighter conversions from FedEx. Tay says the first two of these aircraft were recently re-delivered to FedEx.
ST Aero in April secured from the US FAA a supplemental type certificate for the 757-200SF. Boeing held the STC for the original DHL programme.
Tay says Boeing’s support of ST Aero’s STC application helped ST Aero receive its own STC only five days after the last test flight involving the FedEx 757-200SF prototype.He says for the RNZAF aircraft a STC was not required and would have been costly to pursue for only two aircraft, but all the work was done to FAA STC standards.