Hot answers tagged

53

Price, commonality, and size choice. A very large proportion of an aircraft's cost is in design and certification. It's followed by the engines, the avionics, and the fuselage. Not much cost can be removed from an aircraft by removing the passenger-specific elements of design. That is done in freighter versions. Freighter models like the 747-8F already ...


44

Yes. During and after WW2 several aircraft were converted to serve as "Dumbo" aircraft, dropping boats or rafts near people in distress. Other models were used as well, but the B-17 were among the most prominent. Most were retired when the helicopter gradually took over rescue operations.


40

Flying wings can be made to have acceptable flying qualities without any artificial assistance. Just look at the Jim Marske glider designs. The principal downfall of flying wings is that stability in pitch is pretty much achieved the same way as with a conventional tail, with a down force balancing out the center of gravity forward of the fulcrum of ...


29

Cargo aircraft (outside the military) almost always started life as passenger aircraft. The ratio of active large cargo aircraft to passenger aircraft is in the single percentages. Therefore, nobody develops a pure cargo aircraft from scratch. That does not mean that no one has tried. Especially for cargo, large flying wings have been proposed which store ...


29

It is quite common for float planes to carry canoes & kayaks, e.g.


27

Large enough helicopters do it. Above example is a Boeing CH-47 Chinook (businessinsider.com) But since you have tagged it seaplane, not to my knowledge. It's often the other way around, seaplane tenders tending to seaplanes (or used to). (I take it by boat you don't mean the inflatable and/or small type, as those are not hard to transport.) Catalina ...


26

Pure freight operations tend to fly significantly fewer cycles than passenger or combi aircraft. And you don't care too much how ratty looking it is as long as it's reasonably reliable. This makes older used aircraft a lot more attractive from a business case perspective. You have airlines that buy combination pax/freighter aircraft new, "combies" but ...


23

Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines still have dedicated freighters. American, Delta, Southwest and United all have thriving cargo shipping operations, but as far as I can tell, no longer have freighters. https://www.aacargo.com https://www.alaskaair.com/content/cargo/general https://www.deltacargo.com https://www.hawaiianaircargo.com https://www.swacargo....


22

I would like to suggest the "Landseaire" flying yacht which carried boats under the wings as per this question.


21

It was one of the main roles for the Vickers Warwick in WWII. From Wikipedia: From 1943, Warwicks were loaded with the 1,700 lb (770 kg) Mk IA airborne lifeboat and used for air-sea rescue. The lifeboat, designed by yachtsman Uffa Fox, laden with supplies and powered by two 4 hp (3.0 kW) motors, was aimed with a bombsight near to ditched air crew and ...


20

A lot of airlines (USA flagged or not) still ship cargo in the hold along with passengers baggage, for some airlines its a high dollar business. Carriers like UPS, FedEx, etc, have surely put a dent in the plane-full-o-cargo market but for the airlines it actually helps to mitigate risk. If you carry both cargo and passengers you can be assured of a more ...


19

The Fernic T-9 of 1929 was prepared for an Atlantic crossing and as a precaution had removable upper engine nacelles which could double as a life raft, including an outboard engine. A less planned use of an airplane part as a boat occurred when in 1932 the Junkers W-33 of Hans Bertram and Adolf Klausmann crashed in a remote part of Western Australia. They ...


17

There is no such thing as aircraft designed specifically for cargo. The types like C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster, An-124 Ruslan, C-130 Hercules or A400M Atlas are not designed for just any cargo, but for carrying cargo to the front line in a war, with ability to land on a strip prepared in a day by a small team of battle engineers and option to para-drop ...


13

The 747LCF cannot haul any cargo except Boeing’s own cargo as its type certificate only allows it to carry Boeing’s own cargo. Whereas A300 Beluga’s type certificate limitation section only refers to Airplane Flight Manual. It may allows to carry other cargo with some conditions met. ————————— Page 28 of A20WE, type certificate of 747, states XIV - 747-...


13

It's due to the overnight parcel distribution model which limits the available operating time. A parcel picked up by 5pm needs time to get a terminal, and then has to get to the destination distribution terminal in time to be distributed and dropped off by mid afternoon the next day. This means the heavies in the freight business do their flying overnight ...


12

The cargo operation (dedicated fleet) requires its own logistical and operational apparatus. Unless an airline's cargo subsidiary is large enough to get the required economy of scale, along with decent market conditions, it's not worth the trouble and expense. According to this article, Lufthansa's cargo operation lost money in 2016 and they were ...


11

There are various examples in history where luggage and/or cargo was dump during flight to reduce weight: Embraer EMB-110P1 Bandeirante, 29 July 1998: To lose weight, the left overwing exit was opened and luggage of the passengers was jettisoned. Lockheed L-149 Constellation, 29 May 1972: Cargo was jettisoned, but the aircraft continued to lose ...


11

For a start, with what it costs to design and certificate a new aircraft type, if a transport craft can't be reconfigured to carry either passengers or freight it won't make it off the napkin. The conventional transports we have can be switched from cargo to passenger and back, some in just a few hours. For a non-passenger transport to compete, it would ...


11

In addition to the other answers, a reason for the lack of flying wings in civil aviation in general is that they need to compete in an environment that has grown alongside conventional, fuselage-and-wings aircraft and is ill-suited for flying wings. This means they need to use the same airports (turning radii, RWY widths), fit into the same parking ...


7

Decades ago, when we moved checks at night for Federal Reserve clearing, we would sometimes have sealed bags which were cash. On my flights, I never had an armed guard on board, but on taking off and landing, we were met on the ramp by an armored truck with armed guards on a routine basis. The impression I had is that checks and other paper were the main ...


7

Flying wings simply don't have much internal space for cargo, so they're a non-starter for cargo planes. You mention the B-2 which will carry 18 tons of bombs. However, bombs are small and heavy: for example, a US Mark 82 bomb is essentially a 130kg (300lb) metal box filled with 90kg (200lb) of explosives. Most airline cargo isn't packed in thick, heavy ...


7

TL;DR: Between the development of the Beluga and the Dreamlifter, the An-124 took over the commercial large cargo market. Therefore, Boeing didn't have a business case for charters. As mentioned in vasin1987's answer, the A300-600ST Beluga is certified for commercial operations whereas the 747LCF is not. Airbus originally intended the aircraft to be ...


6

The wall is a rigid barrier behind the supernumerary section that serves two purposes. The first purpose is protect the supernumerary area and cockpit from cargo shifting forward during an accident. The barriers are rated to be able to hold back a full load of cargo at crash loads (9G*). This allows for the primary cargo securing system to only have to ...


6

I would like to discuss the stability argument in a bit more detail. Since it is correct that static longitudinal stability is the main reason why these aircraft are not often developed. However the reasoning given in the other posts is incomplete/not completely correct. First of all, a flying wing indeed has a very small stability margin. This can be ...


5

The cargo terminal was closed for good by 24th August, 1998. First Anniversary of Hong Kong SAR: Infrastructure Development Air cargo handling was more seriously affected by problems with the automated handling system at the new 'Super Terminal 1' operated by Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (HACTL). This forced HACTL to re-open its air cargo facility ...


4

Took me a while to find this photo, from my personal archive from the East Fortune Airshow 2015 of a Royal Norwegian Airforce Lockheed Orion. As I recall, the commentator stated that the orange object visible in the 'bomb bay' is an air-droppable lifeboat, for their search-and-rescue missions.


4

Just the C-130. The C-17 was intended to have that capability, but it was decided against. That's according to a 1995 report to congressional committees (gao.gov; PDF): C-17's Intended Role Has Changed (...) the C-17's unique 60,000 pound low-altitude parachute extraction system (LAPES) capability is not needed, and the aircraft cannot meet original ...


4

The only situation in which a US-licensed pilot is subject to an age limit is part 121 scheduled airline service. Other than that there are no age limits, you just have to be able to pass your medical exam. However, you state that in your scenario the pilot will have to be able to fly cargo in and out of the US. That implies the pilot may have a foreign ...


3

Well here's one way to approach it: Excluding transatlantic and transcontinental red-eye flights, most airplanes are running between 6 am and about 10 or 11 pm and are down overnight. Let's just say 18 operational hours per day, or 6570 operational hours per year (we could define operational hours as an aircraft "available for duty"). The average airliner ...


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