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The DC-9 And 737- Not Good Cargo Airplanes?  
User currently offlinec5load From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 917 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 13691 times:

I've noticed a lot of aircraft do well in the pax market, some more so than others. Why didn't the DC-9 series (Maddog series) or the 737 become good cargo airplanes? There are only a few small cargo operators of the 732, but IIRC the only cargo outfits for the DC-9 were DHL and Amerijet. It seems every other Boeing does well for freight, why wouldn't the 737 be offered as a freight version like the 748, 767, 777?


"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineTK787 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4451 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 13687 times:

Turkish cargo carrier MNG just received 2 x 737-400 Cargos. I think they got retrofitted in Miami.

User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25732 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 13629 times:

Biggest downside to the Douglas plane is the narrow fuselage which requires smaller sized ULDs, not industry standard equipment.

At the end of the day, I suppose neither model really had a very strong freighter business case which has left them more as niche models unlike the 727 which has proven immensely popular and useful as a freighter.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently onlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6951 posts, RR: 46
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 13601 times:

Perhaps the reason that not many 737's saw cargo duty is that there were plenty of 727's available, and not that many 737's were available for conversion until they were very tired. The 732 was also pretty small for cargo, even though it did have the same cross-section as the 727.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 13345 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
Biggest downside to the Douglas plane is the narrow fuselage which requires smaller sized ULDs, not industry standard equipment.

You also have operators like Airborne Express/ABX Air that loaded some of their DC-9s through the front door and did not have a cargo door for the upper deck. MDD did offer pure cargo versions as well as the RC (rapid change) variant (their version of the sort of system Boeing developed for the 727 Quick Change.). Some operators of the RC type eventually retained them as strictly passenger a/c. It seems that the heyday for DC-9Fs was in the 1970s into the 80s, as a number of DC-9 operators also operated cargo versions of them in addition to their passenger versions (Surprisingly, some of these a/c are still plying their trade while their passenger brethren are either stored or scapped):


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FedEx in their early years operated some 732s:

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Photo © Howard Chaloner
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The 732 as a cargo a/c has been one of the more common conversions because it is less susceptible to FOD ingestion on gravel runways found in places like Alaska, parts of Canada and parts of Africa due to the engine height in comparison to the later 737 variants.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6407 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 13282 times:

Arrow Air in the US, and Airborne Express, both extensively used DC-9 freighters.

As for 737 classics, I have a (rare) picture of a 737-300 freighter:


MyAviation.net photo:
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Photo © Brent Boswell



Apparently, Kittyhawk went out of business not too long after I snapped this photo...  

[Edited 2010-08-30 13:02:19]

[Edited 2010-08-30 13:03:51]


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 13248 times:

There are a few more cargo companies that fly DC-9's still. Ameristar, USA Jet.

User currently offlineFX1816 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1400 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 13154 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 5):
Arrow Air in the US, and Airborne Express, both extensively used DC-9 freighters.

Arrow Air operated DC-8's not DC-9's.

Quoting srbmod (Reply 4):
You also have operators like Airborne Express/ABX Air that loaded some of their DC-9s through the front door and did not have a cargo door for the upper deck.

Airborne loaded all of the DC-9's through the front door along with most of the DC-8's and all of the 767's as they operated for Airborne before the merger. The DC-9's, from what I was told by ABX Air MX back when I worked for DHL, that had the main deck cargo door and there were a few of them, had them actually deactivated so that they couldn't and wouldn't be used anymore.

FX1816


User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15778 posts, RR: 27
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 13103 times:

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
There are only a few small cargo operators of the 732,

I've never heard anything bad about the 737 as a cargo plane. And when it comes to getting cargo to rugged, far flung places, a 737-200 with a gravel kit is probably the next best thing to a C-130. I suspect that we will see quite a few 737 Classics converted (some already have) as replacements for 737 with airlines that don't want or need the extra range and capacity of a 757 (which are more expensive and less common). You could probably get two 737-300s for the price of one 757.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25626 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 13020 times:

Quoting srbmod (Reply 4):
Some operators of the RC type eventually retained them as strictly passenger a/c. It seems that the heyday for DC-9Fs was in the 1970s into the 80s, as a number of DC-9 operators also operated cargo versions of them in addition to their passenger versions

AC bought 8 DC-9-15RC convertible models with main deck cargo door from CO in 1972-73 and used them in both all-cargo and all-passenger service for a few years, but they were all sold (to Air Florida) by the late '70s/s/early '80s.


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AC also operated an ex-Overseas National DC-9-32F freighter from 1973 to 1977.


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Photo © Gary Vincent

Quoting srbmod (Reply 4):
The 732 as a cargo a/c has been one of the more common conversions because it is less susceptible to FOD ingestion on gravel runways found in places like Alaska, parts of Canada and parts of Africa due to the engine height in comparison to the later 737 variants.

The 6 Canadian operators of 732C combis, mostly equipped with the gravel runway equipment, don't know what they will do when those aircraft finally have to be retired, as there's really nothing else that can do the same job, especially to remote airports in Canada's north with gravel runways.


User currently offlineHNLPointShoot From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 320 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 12943 times:

I would think that Aloha Air Cargo (and its predecessor AQ) uses convertible 732s as freighters because there isn't enough cargo volume flying interisland to justify using anything larger. When AQ was still around, it also allowed to have a single common interisland fleet, and they even had QCs pull double duty flying passengers by day and freight by night.


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User currently offlineav757 From Colombia, joined Apr 2004, 660 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 12870 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Aerosucre Colombia has a few Boeing 737-200´s,
converted ex Copa airplanes with large side cargo doors operating out of Bogota their main base of operations.

AV757


User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 12802 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 9):
The 6 Canadian operators of 732C combis, mostly equipped with the gravel runway equipment, don't know what they will do when those aircraft finally have to be retired, as there's really nothing else that can do the same job, especially to remote airports in Canada's north with gravel runways.

They'll probably end up doing like Alaska Airlines did and convert some 737 Classics into combis:

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Photo © Ben Wang



User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25626 posts, RR: 22
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 12776 times:

Quoting srbmod (Reply 12):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 9):
The 6 Canadian operators of 732C combis, mostly equipped with the gravel runway equipment, don't know what they will do when those aircraft finally have to be retired, as there's really nothing else that can do the same job, especially to remote airports in Canada's north with gravel runways.

They'll probably end up doing like Alaska Airlines did and convert some 737 Classics into combis:

The 737 Classics can't use gravel runways, and the AS combi modification of the 734s requires a fixed divider between the cargo and passenger compartments which is required under current FAA regulations. That significantly reduces their versatilty and wouldn't work in Canada where the 732 combis operate with anything from all-passenger to all-cargo layouts with several passenger-cargo configurations depending on demand due to the movable cabin divider.

[Edited 2010-08-30 15:50:32]

User currently offlinehatbutton From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1500 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 12759 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 13):
That significantly reduces their versatilty and wouldn't work in Canada where the 732 combis operate with anything from all-passenger to all-cargo layouts with several passenger-cargo configurations depending on demand due to the movable cabin divider.

Eventually the costs of operation outweigh the benefit of the movable divider and even AS had to get rid of theirs.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25626 posts, RR: 22
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 12683 times:

Quoting hatbutton (Reply 14):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 13):
That significantly reduces their versatilty and wouldn't work in Canada where the 732 combis operate with anything from all-passenger to all-cargo layouts with several passenger-cargo configurations depending on demand due to the movable cabin divider.

Eventually the costs of operation outweigh the benefit of the movable divider and even AS had to get rid of theirs.

AS didn't have the gravel runway requirement as the few airports where they once used 732Cs with gravel equipment were eventually paved. That will never happen in the Canadian north. The only option once the 732Cs go is much smaller/slower propeller types, or pure freighters, which again makes routes now operated with mixed cargo-passenger 732Cs a problem, and many of those routes only have 2 or 3 flights a week.


User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1579 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12624 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 15):
The only option once the 732Cs go is much smaller/slower propeller types, or pure freighters, which again makes routes now operated with mixed cargo-passenger 732Cs a problem, and many of those routes only have 2 or 3 flights a week.

I know it's not quite as flexible as an aircraft that can move a divider around teh cabin as needed, but what about adding a cargo door and reinforcing the floor of the aircraft and then being able to pull the passenger seats out when it's going to do a cargo run? Might that work for some of the markets if they could pave the runways or figure out a way to gravel kit the newer 737s?



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently offlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1611 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12607 times:

The DC9 is an excellent freighter, still used every day. The problem with the 733 as a freighter was it couldn't handle the load like the 727 can. It was great into and out of shorter runways but in the end, if couldn't haul the amount of weight needed. Another problem was the fact that when loading the #1 engine is very close to the K-loader/forklift and KHA found out the hard way at first after a few dings.


Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3417 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12582 times:

part of the reason 737's are not common as cargo aircraft is that there is plenty of smaller and less well off airlines waiting to get thier hands on cheap used narrowbody frames. Which keeps the value high enough to not make sense to spend even more money converting them. Scrap value is also high given the demand for parts. Last when they do get uneconomical to operate as passenger planes and don't have a high scrap value... that means the frame is done, either from abuse or high cycles.

There might be an opportunty in the future if Boeing and Airbus keep production rates high and the 737 classics are all but replaced as that should cause a drop in value which makes conversion to cargo worth while.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25626 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12549 times:

Quoting Antoniemey (Reply 16):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 15):
The only option once the 732Cs go is much smaller/slower propeller types, or pure freighters, which again makes routes now operated with mixed cargo-passenger 732Cs a problem, and many of those routes only have 2 or 3 flights a week.

I know it's not quite as flexible as an aircraft that can move a divider around teh cabin as needed, but what about adding a cargo door and reinforcing the floor of the aircraft and then being able to pull the passenger seats out when it's going to do a cargo run? Might that work for some of the markets if they could pave the runways or figure out a way to gravel kit the newer 737s?

That would work in a few markets where there's enough demand for an all-passenger 737. But most have much smaller passenger demand so it wouldn't be economic to operate an all-passenger 737 with only 20 or 30 passengers with no ability to fill the other 3/4 of the cabin with cargo. And if the CFM56-powered 737s were adaptable for use on gravel runways, I expect it would have been done by now.

The 732 combi is one of those aircraft with a unique combination of capabilities, especially when equipped for use on unpaved runways..


User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15778 posts, RR: 27
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 12508 times:

Quoting Antoniemey (Reply 16):

I don't think they'd need another door for that. As I understand them, the new rules still allow for a traditional QC aircraft just like before except that such planes must operate as either all pax or all cargo. If you want to carry pax and cargo on the same deck, you need a solid bulkhead.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinehomsar From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 1188 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 12508 times:

Would a 717 converted freighter be able to operate from gravel runways?


I was raised by a cup of coffee.
User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1579 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 12462 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 20):
I don't think they'd need another door for that.

The door would be to make loading cargo easier. Obviously with small cargo it's possible to load through a passenger door, but if you want to load larger items in you need a main deck cargo door.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15778 posts, RR: 27
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 12340 times:

Quoting Antoniemey (Reply 22):

No, what I meant was that if you want to have a plane switch from all pax to all cargo, you only need one cargo door and there is no cabin divider.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1579 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 11505 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 23):

No, what I meant was that if you want to have a plane switch from all pax to all cargo, you only need one cargo door and there is no cabin divider.

I wasn't saying to add a second cargo door... I was talking about converting a used PAX aircraft by adding a cargo door.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
25 wjcandee : Ugh... Sure would be fun if more than a few folks who actually knew about cargo would post on this issue. DC9, as noted, was widely used for express a
26 msp747 : I could see the 737-800 being a great cargo plane down the road (and the A320 for that matter). But since both are in such high demand right now for p
27 Navigator : I do not agree with your analysis at all. The DC-9-33F was a workhorse at SAS for many many years and is an excellent freighter and freight versions
28 747m8te : Here in Australia, Australian Air Freight has replaced all their 727 freighters with 737s, and Toll also has a number of 737 freighters here as well.
29 clydenairways : I think your problem is that you are making your analsys about 30 years too late. Both the DC9 and 737 were quite sucussful freighters in their day.
30 KC135TopBoom : All USAF C-9As and most USN C-9Bs had a cargo door. Also the USN C-40A is a combi B-737-700C.
31 Post contains images pfletch1228 : SAA operate both 732 and 733 freighters. One each. ZS-SID and ZS-SBB respectively. Sometimes I wonder if they are used more for flybys and airshows th
32 KC135TopBoom : Wouldn't that be a little expensive for an airline to maintane an 'air show' fleet?
33 Viscount724 : . First 757F order was from UPS in December 1985 (first delivery September 1987). Joint launch orders from Eastern and BA for the passenger 757 were i
34 413X3 : Freight flies at night, leaves time for airshows during the day!
35 Post contains images pfletch1228 : Yip, but this is SAA we are talking about! I was just being facetious! Below is the reason they are most probably used in Airshows... Incidentally, S
36 Post contains links and images cedarjet : Yes indeed but my favourite exception is that Finnair, a prolific and enthusiastic DC9 operator, also had a 737 freighter! View Large View MediumPhot
37 clydenairways : Yes, but that was Operated by Air Atlanta of Iceland so it wasn't really a Finnair aircraft.
38 Post contains images CheetahC :
39 413X3 : Cool pictures! Must be fun when the pilots get to do that.
40 atpcliff : Hi! The last, and best DC-9 was the DC-9-34F, with either the -15 or -17 engines. It had the same takeoff weight, 121,000 lbs., as the -50, but it was
41 FX1816 : Really??? I was under the assumption that because of the length of the fuselage and the fact that the wings are placed so far back actually set it up
42 BMI727 : I'm not sure CG will be too much of an issue for the MD-80 since I think they are tail heavy when empty. I think some carriers even would put ballast
43 broke : The DC-9/MD-80 range of airplanes have a narrower fuselage than their Boeing equivalents. This resulted in these aircraft not being able to accept the
44 tb727 : atpcliff, doesn't JUS have one of those? I thought I saw one with the old pods a couple weeks ago when I had to offload there.
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