6
$\begingroup$

I am working on a project where I have to design a runway for large cargo planes and I need to know what kind of planes I should assume would land there.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ It depends on a lot of factors, such as the number of packages to be transported, available runway length, local climate, political connection with other countries, etc. $\endgroup$ – kevin Jul 20 '17 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer Kevin, however i just need to know what cargo planes are most commonly used today. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Jul 20 '17 at 14:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you plan around the latest variant of the 747, everything else in use will pretty well be taken care of. UPS flies 747s, FedEx flies the MD-11, which is similar. And both fly other, smaller jets as well. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Jul 20 '17 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking for statistics to support one type or another? That might be hard to offer. It would be easier to give prominent examples. In my experience, I see the A300, B757, B767, and B747 in frequent use. For example, UPS operates 75 B757s, 59 B767s, 52 A300s, etc. FedEx operates 119 B757s, 68 A300s, 59 MD-11s, etc. Atlas operates 45 B747s, etc. ABX operates 37 B767s. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Jul 20 '17 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @andrew please specify if you mean civilian or military cargo planes. $\endgroup$ – Devil07 Jul 20 '17 at 21:02
9
$\begingroup$

Size doesn't matter.*

If you are designing a runway, then you should get familiar with ACN and PCN.

The aircraft classification number (ACN) is a number expressing the relative effect of an aircraft on the runway pavement for a specified standard subgrade category.

* There can be the largest aircraft out there, but it may have a lot of tires, so the force it will exert [per tire] on the pavement might be lower than that of a smaller plane (e.g., A380 and MD-11).

From the linked Wikipedia article, the MD-11 stands out as the harshest on pavements (after discounting non-freighter aircraft).

enter image description here


Runway length, and wingspan

In most cases, aircraft are loaded according to the available length, not the other way around. Not all airports that handle 747s have 11,000-foot [corrected length] runways.

For the wingspan (or main gear span), the categories are defined by ICAO Aerodrome Reference Code.

Element 2 of the Code is derived from the most restrictive of either the aircraft wingspan or the aircraft outer main gear wheel span.

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I beg to differ - side does matter. It takes more runway to get a 747 off the ground than, say a 707. (Not that there are many 707s hauling cargo these days...) An AN-225 may be able to take off from a gravel strip, but it's going to be a long one... Yes the ACN is an important factor, but runway length and width are as important and don't seem to be listed in the chart you showed a snippet of. (Also, making it clear where the image came from would be good.) $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Jul 21 '17 at 17:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ My bad, I missed that part of the sentence. Updates look good! $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Jul 21 '17 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ So what do they do for aircraft with an 80-meter-or-more wingspan and/or a 16-meter-or-more outermaingearwheelspan? $\endgroup$ – Sean May 8 at 3:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Sean: When/if such a civil plane with the purpose of international travel is made, then maybe they'll add G – note that the F code is recent ;) $\endgroup$ – ymb1 May 8 at 11:00
8
$\begingroup$

The C5 Galaxy is a large pure cargo plane, with the nose able to swing wide open.

enter image description here
Image source

The Ukranians make larger cargo planes than the C-5, nicknamed the vodka burners here in Australia. Slighty larger than the C-5 is the Antonov AN124.

enter image description here
Image source

And the largest of them all, the B747 freighter and the Antonov AN225.

enter image description here
Image source

enter image description here
Image source

The pure cargo planes have swing noses which allows for sticking big chunks of cargo straight in. We had a look at air freighting a simulator some time ago, and a regular freighter 747 could not do it, too bulky for the side loading set-up. Only the swing nose guys could manage, requiring airport facilities that could handle oversize freight.

A comparison between sizes of 747 and An225 is found on Wikipedia:

enter image description here
Image source

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I thought all C-5s were retired? But then again I've also heard of plans to return some of them to service... $\endgroup$ – jwenting Jul 21 '17 at 6:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yeah they're C-5M Super Galaxy's now. $\endgroup$ – Koyovis Jul 21 '17 at 7:20
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ On the C-5, the cockpit doesn't swing open; it stays put. It's the nose of the C-5 swings open. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Jul 21 '17 at 13:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A bit of a Duh error, have rectified. $\endgroup$ – Koyovis Jul 21 '17 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ C-5 in picture: NOM $\endgroup$ – Sean May 8 at 3:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.