Beryl Markham

February 9, 2009 by  
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In 1933, Beryl Markham was the first woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license in Kenya. This adventurous British woman flew passengers, cargo, and mail through the most remote and inhospitable regions of Africa, in most cases landing and taking off using empty fields because of the lack of runways. In 1936, Markham became the first woman to fly solo from east to west across the Atlantic.

West with the Night, Beryl Markham‘s memoir about her life as a bush pilot, became an international best seller.

C-130 Hercules

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft is affectionately referred to by many as the Herc and has been in continuous production since 1956. To date, more than 2,260 of the aircraft in various configurations have been delivered to 60 countries, and 67 countries fly the plane, some of which were purchased as pre-owned. From 1964 to 1997, Lockheed Martin manufactured 1,205 aircraft of the C-130H variety, making it to date the most produced version of the Hercules.

The C-130 Hercules is used to support a wide variety of missions including troop and cargo transportation, medical evacuation, search and rescue, weather reconnaissance, firefighting, aerial refueling, and scientific research. The wide aft door makes it possible to load and unload oversized cargo quickly and efficiently. This enables it to carry everything from cargo pallets to helicopters. Despite its size, the Herc can land and take off on short, unpaved runways which makes it especially useful in combat and in locations without developed facilities.

In February 1999, Lockheed Martin introduced the newest version of the C-130 which is the C-130J. The C-130J is powered by Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engines with six-bladed propellers, which together offer improved power and performance over older versions of the Hercules. The C-130J Hercules has an upgraded suite of equipment from previous models, including an advanced cargo-handling system, anti-icing system, advanced heads-up display, a cutting edge navigational system, low-power color radar, digital mapping displays, and a digital auto pilot. The C-130J is also considerably more fuel-efficient. The C-130J is flown by the U.S. Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command. The C-130J-30 Hercules is the same as the C-130J but the fuselage has an additional 15′ in length which provides additional cargo room.

Besides the United States, other countries that fly the C-130J are the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, and Denmark. The U.S. Coast Guard flies the HC-130J and the U.S. Marine Corps flies KC-130J tankers.

Speed: 345 mph
Range: 1,150 miles
Ceiling: 19,000′
Length: 97.8′
Wingspan: 132.6′
Height: 38.3′
Maximum weight: 155,000 lb
Empty weight: 69,300 lbs
Engine(s): Four Allison T56-A-7 turboprop 4,200 HP engines
Cruise speed: 292 knots
Crew: 5

C-5 Galaxy

February 9, 2009 by  
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The C-5 Galaxy entered service in June 1970 when Lockheed-Georgia Co. delivered the aircraft to the United States Air Force. The USAF has retained exclusive purchasing rights to the Galaxy. The primary purpose of the Lockheed C-5 is to support heavy airlift missions on behalf of the U.S. military. The airplane is capable of transporting oversized cargo long distances and can land within a mere 4,900′. With a maximum load, the C-5 requires only an 8,300′ runway for takeoff. Its nose and aft cargo doors easily accommodate the loading and unloading of cargo and they’re wide enough to permit two vehicles to drive side-by-side onto the Galaxy. The landing gear will “kneel” or lower the airplane for ease of loading or unloading. The upper deck is spacious enough to seat 73 passengers.

Though it looks very much like the C-141 Starlifter, the C-5 Galaxy is bigger and can transport a heavier payload than the C-141. In recent years, the C-5 Galaxy planes continue to be upgraded with modern avionics. The Galaxy fleet’s autopilot system as well as the safety and navigation equipment is presently being upgraded. In addition, new landing gear, engines, auxiliary power units, pylons, and other parts will be installed on the Galaxy aircraft. Because the planes are expected to remain in service for many years to come, these upgrades are not only necessary but are also considered to be cost-effective as compared to purchasing new planes. The U.S. Air Force estimates the savings for upgrading rather than replacing the planes to be around $20 billion.

The C-5C Galaxy is designed to accommodate even larger cargo than the standard C-5. NASA has made use of the larger Galaxy to transport satellites and other equipment. Two of these modified Galaxy planes fly for NASA though U.S. Air Force crews fly both of them.

Speed: 518 mph
Range: 6,320 nm
Ceiling: 34,000′
Length: 247.1′
Wingspan: 222.9′
Height: 65.1′
Maximum weight: 769,000 lbs
Empty weight: 380,000 lb
Engine(s): Four General Electric TF-39 engines
Takeoff roll: 8,400′
Landing roll: 3,600′
Rate of climb: 1,800′ per minute
Crew: Seven, including a pilot, co-pilot, two flight engineers, and three loadmasters

C17 Globemaster

February 9, 2009 by  
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The C-17 Globemaster III is a military transport airplane with a high wing, four engines and an unusual T-tail. Its primary mission is to transport troops, supplies, and/or over-sized equipment anywhere in the world in daylight or at night. It has high adaptability for various missions, in part because the C-17 can use paved or unpaved runways.

In addition, the C-17 uses a special flap system to enable it to make short-field landings. Because the C-17 Globemaster III can operate from relatively short airfields, the cargo plane is especially valuable during military, peacekeeping, and humanitarian relief missions when long runways are often not available. The C-17 has long-range capability even when carrying heavy loads though it can also take advantage of mid-air refueling when it’s available.

The C-17 Globemaster can carry a payload of up to 160,000 pounds comprised of personnel, cargo, or a combination of the two. Its enormous size permits the loading of two rows of tanks or one load of three Bradley infantry-fighting vehicles. The Globemaster is often used at the beginning of engagements to quickly bring needed equipment and personnel to the battle zone.

The U.S. Air Force initially purchased 180 of the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from Boeing, with the delivery taking place in 2008. As at January 2010, a total of 212 had been manufactured and delivered to the U.S. Air Force, Canada’s Department of National Defence, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.

Cruise speed: 0.74 – 0.77 Mach
Range: 2,420 nautical miles
Length: 174 feet
Wingspan: 169.8 feet
Height: 55.1 feet
Maximum weight: 164,900 lbs
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney 40,440 pound thrust F117-PW-100 engines
Takeoff roll: 7,740 feet
Landing roll: 3,000 feet
Crew: Two flight crew and one loadmaster
Contractor: Boeing

References:
Boeing

C2A Greyhound

February 9, 2009 by  
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The C-2A Greyhound is based on the E-2 Hawkeye and its mission is to ferry cargo and personnel to and from U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. The C-2A Greyhound’s wings are similar to the E-2 Hawkeye, but the loading ramp is located in the rear and the fuselage is wider. Production of the C-2A began in 1965; just one year after the prototype completed its first flight.

It’s the primary Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft for the Navy. To conserve space while onboard the carrier, the C-2A has folding wings. For ease of loading and unloading, the airplane has an over-sized aft cargo door and ramp. This makes the process much faster and efficient than traditional side or underside doors and ramps. Saving time is especially critical during wartime and relief missions when every second counts.

In flight, the C-2A Greyhound can be used to airdrop supplies and/or military personnel. Most cargo planes require ground support and electrical power for engine starting, but the C-2A carries its own power supply to start its engines. This makes the airplane incredibly versatile and self-reliant even when using undeveloped airfields.

A number of design enhancements and upgrades have been performed on the C-2A Greyhound, with the intention of extending the airplane’s service life for several years and will affect the avionics system, propellers, wiring, and structural design. Safety improvements include the installation of a Terrain Awareness Warning System and a Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System.

Some additional data about the C-2A Greyhound:

Maximum speed: 310 knots
Cruise speed: 260 knots
Range: 1,300 nautical miles
Ceiling: 30,000 feet
Length: 57 feet, 7 inches
Wingspan: 80 feet, 7 inches
Height: 17 feet
Maximum weight: 57,500 pounds
Engine(s): Two Allison 4,910 ESHP T56-A-425 turboprop engines
Crew: Four
Armament: Up to 10,000 pounds of cargo, passengers, or a combination of both
Contractor: Northrop Grumman

References:
Northrop Grumman
United States Navy

KC-135 Stratotanker

February 9, 2009 by  
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The KC-135 Stratotanker was first deployed in August 1956, and has been in operation since 1957. Though the KC-135 Stratotanker is mostly used to refuel planes in-flight, it can also transport cargo, perform reconnaissance work, or be used as an aerial command center. For medical emergencies, the Stratotanker can transport or evacuate patients. Above the fuselage-mounted fuel tanks, there’s a cargo and passenger deck.

Any airplane that is equipped for in-flight refueling can extend their operating range indefinitely. This makes tankers like the KC-135 Stratotanker invaluable for military operations. Though the Stratotanker is an asset of the U.S. Air Force, it’s sometimes made available to other military branches such as the Marine Corps and Navy as well as to other Allied countries’ aircraft.

Internal fuel from the KC-135 Stratotanker is pumped through the flying boom and exits a shuttlecock-shaped drogue that attaches to refueling aircraft. The Stratotanker’s boom operator controls the boom from the rear of the plane. Coordinating the movements of the Stratotanker and receiver airplane can be tricky, and is especially difficult in bumpy air.

From 1975 to 1988, Boeing replaced the original skin on 746 Stratotankers with a superior aluminum-alloy skin. Additional improvements included replacing the engine strut fittings, a number of parts and many thousands of steel fasteners and aluminum rivets.

Fuel efficiency as well as takeoff and carrying capacity were increased for Air Force Stratotankers with the replacement of the original KC-135A engines with CFM56 engines. Those planes were redesignated as KC-135R. The newer engines were also less noisy with reduced emissions. Engines in Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Stratotankers were replaced with refurbished JT3D engines that had originally been installed in 707 commercial airliners. Those modified Stratotankers were redesignated KC-135E.

Maximum speed: 530 mph
Range: 1,500 miles
Ceiling: 50,000′
Length: 136′ 3″
Wingspan: 130′ 10″
Height: 41′ 8″
Maximum weight: 322,500 pounds
Maximum Cargo Capability: 83,000 pounds of cargo or 37 passengers
Engine(s): CFM International CFM-56 turbofan engines in the KC-135R/T. Pratt and Whitney TF-33-PW-102 turbofan engines in the KC-135E.
Crew: Three, including the pilot, co-pilot, and boom operator. Some KC-135 missions also require a navigator.
Aeromedical Evacuation Crew: Five, including two flight nurses and three medical technicians.

Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport

February 4, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

The new Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport), which is based on the highly successful civilian A330-200, has been designed to be used as an air refueling tanker, as well as a cargo transport aircraft for military use.

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The Impressive Boeing 777 Freighter

January 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

In response to the increasing demand from cargo operators worldwide for a long-range, efficient, high-capacity freight airplane, in May 2005 the Boeing Company launched the Boeing 777 Freighter. Delivery of their launch order from Air France is expected to take place in the final quarter of 2008, with additional orders coming in from Emirates, Air Canada, China Southern Airlines, FedEx, GE Capital, Korean Air, Qatar and India-based cargo carriers, Flyington Freighters.

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The Cutting Edge Singapore Air Show

December 24, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

The Singapore Air Show, which takes place every two years, is scheduled for 19-24 February 2008 at the New Changi Exhibition Centre, Changi North, Singapore. This prestigious event is Asia’s largest aerospace and defense show and one of the world’s top three air shows. Hosted jointly by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Defense Science & Technology Agency, the Singapore Air Show serves as a meeting place for the military and civil aviation community to benefit from opportunities for marketing and networking on a global scale. It is also an opportunity for the public to view the airplanes and exhibitions.

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