Just saw a video in a news, a military cargo plane carrying people stranded in some country. The seats were like in a commercial airliner. This led me to ask the question.

Would it be possible to see some examples where it was done, along with the procedure?


4 Answers 4


There are such a thing as "Quick Change" aircraft, allowing entire 'pallets' of chairs to be exchanged for cargo.

picImage courtesy of canalblog.com

qcImage courtesy of airliner.net

Nice film to show the process.

Military transport aircraft can also be fitted out with stretchers or seats, or whatever other combo of stuff you want. To the best of my understanding these lock in like any other cargo pallet in the floor. They are less concerned with aesthetics and more with practicality:

militaryImage courtesy the DOD via Wikimedia

Image courtesy of aarcorp.com

  • 14
    $\begingroup$ It should be noted, that for military it's the standard way of doing things. Air forces generally don't have dedicated planes for carrying people, so whenever they need to move troops, and they do often, they always use these removable seats (unless they charter civilian plane). $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Apr 7, 2015 at 9:38
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent explanation and illustration $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Apr 7, 2015 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ I am missing a source stating how many of these Quick-Change aircraft are available at different fleet operators. I doubt that FedEx could convert any single of its planes, but that's just a gut feeling... $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Apr 7, 2015 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander few quick-change planes exist, mostly because I think it's difficult to get an efficient mixed service. Pemco states that you can only get in 8 instead of 9 pallets and it takes 20-30 minutes to get the seats in and out. I can't find any number built either.... $\endgroup$ Apr 7, 2015 at 11:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ...and sooner or later the seats are all located at the wrong airport! $\endgroup$ Apr 7, 2015 at 16:09

It applies to helicopters too.

When on holiday in the West Indies, one of the locations offered helicopter rides. If anyone booked one, they contacted the local freight helicopter company who put the seats back into the helicopter, then they flew you round the bay, then took the seats out again to continue their bread-and-butter freight work.

The pilot told us helicopters come with seats, they took them out and put them in the shed. They formed the company to shift building materials to construction sites. One day a man approached them and asked if they could do sight-seeing rides for tourists. They checked the seats were still in the shed and said "of course".


I used to fly a Twin Otter aircraft that was used in the UK to carry cargo (newspapers) at night and passengers in the day. The seats were carried in the rear of the aircraft and the pilot who flew it at night put the seats in before he went home. No certification was needed as there were no modifications.


Yes. But with any modifications, the airplane will need to get re-certified by the authorities (FAA in the US) and approved, because it would have sustained modification to its structure.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is only for massive total conversion from a dedicated commercial passenger configuration to dedicated freighter configuration - one where doors are changed, flight controls and electronics moved/reprogrammed, major interior restructuring is undertaken, etc. For craft that are dual-purpose with simple removable seats (quick change) there is no need to re-certify. $\endgroup$
    – J...
    Apr 9, 2015 at 6:20
  • $\begingroup$ Good points by both of you $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Apr 9, 2015 at 6:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .