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What Is The Next Generation Strategic Airlifter?  
User currently offlineTWA772LR From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 1674 posts, RR: 1
Posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 8116 times:

Are there any plans to replace humongous strategic airlifters, namely the C5? I know the C5s are going through a re-engine program and getting modern avionics which will most likely add to the service life of the fleet. But regardless of all the updates and bells and whistles, these planes are some of the oldest in the USAF, and the Pentagon must have some kind of plan in place for a replacement. I personally believe that a tactical airlifter, ala the C17, can't be a suitable replacement for a strategic transport like the C5.
And does Russia have any plans to replace their fleet of AN124s?


Я говорю по-русский. :)
40 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3378 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 8077 times:

C-17 is going to be the last one for a very long time.

User currently offlinetaxpilot From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 97 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 8043 times:

The next one will probably be a drone.   

User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 8008 times:

Don't look for any new transports for a very long time;


Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15695 posts, RR: 26
Reply 4, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 7982 times:

Quoting TWA772LR (Thread starter):
But regardless of all the updates and bells and whistles, these planes are some of the oldest in the USAF, and the Pentagon must have some kind of plan in place for a replacement.

Oh the USAF has a plan: take the money and buy fighters instead. They'd be like a kid sent to the corner store for milk and bread but coming back with cookies and soda.

Quoting TWA772LR (Thread starter):
I personally believe that a tactical airlifter, ala the C17, can't be a suitable replacement for a strategic transport like the C5.

The C-17 really straddles the gap between tactical and strategic. Eventually a C-5 replacement will be needed, but that will happen whenever the USAF gets sick of paying to fly them, and that could be a while.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5377 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7937 times:

This:
http://img224.imageshack.us/img224/253/bwb4xt.jpg

My two cents, my opinion. It won't be ordered tomorrow but when a new gen airlifter is needed I am betting it will be something like this.

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1654 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7926 times:

The USAF is working on a airship:
http://images.gizmag.com/gallery_lrg/aeroscraft-complete-2.JPG

This one is a scaled model of what they want to build, but the end goal is that the full sized one will carry 66 tons of cargo. Very promising technology involved here, which could revolutionize the strategic airlift force.


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7497 posts, RR: 32
Reply 7, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 7783 times:

The C-5 and the AN-124 will be replaced only after their dwindling numbers become so small that the various military missions cannot be filled.

Look for an increase in surface transportation rather than airlift, at a higher cost eventually. The cost of not having the airlift capacity will also make surface transportation more expensive.

When will this expense point be reached? - my guess is that current aircraft will be used through at least 2025.

After that - who knows. Slow airships are a definite possibility.

I'm not sure the US or Russia will be the next nation to build a strategic airlift aircraft. The incentive and high cost factor may come from the commercial community - and the aircraft might be built by being funded by a group of large multi-companies.

If such an aircraft were built by commercial interests - I doubt the US military would be able to persuade the US Congress that developing their own aircraft vs buying an already flying design was cost effective.


User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3901 posts, RR: 19
Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7665 times:

Explain why airships are a better solution now than 20 or 40 years ago?

The Japanese have a system of sustained low-rate production for some aircraft. Expensive I'm sure, but suppose the C-5 was still in production, wouldn't building one-two new aircraft a year be a good solution?



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineAreopagus From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1369 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 7579 times:

Or maybe a pelican:
http://www.boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2002/september/i_pw.html


User currently offlineSSTeve From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 693 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 7569 times:

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 8):
The Japanese have a system of sustained low-rate production for some aircraft. Expensive I'm sure, but suppose the C-5 was still in production, wouldn't building one-two new aircraft a year be a good solution?

We'd have far too many C-5s even at 1/year. Granted if you go kaizen on the line, perhaps you'd be scrapping the cruddy old ones rather then throwing money at them.

Incidentally the E-2 and C-130 have been in production forever.


User currently offlinea380heavy From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7469 times:

I can't see airships that can carry just 65 tons being a replacement for a C5/An-124 sized jet. I can think of at least 3 good reasons straight away. Firstly these jets can already carry over 100 tons of cargo, secondly they are much faster and finally they are much less likely to be affected by poor weather conditions.

I think there is a place for airships in the world of heavy lift and outsized cargo, particularly in the civilian world where speed may not be a prime consideration and where the potentially lower operating costs of an airship over a jet are desirable.

Other plus points would be that an airship doesn't need a runway and may have the potential to land on water and/or gain access to remote areas thereby removing the need for potentially problematic overland transportation of cargo from an airfield.



Flown in:732,733,734,738,742,752,763,772,F27,DC9,MD-11,A300,A332,ATR72,DHC-6,Bell206,C172,Auster,PA-28
User currently offlineDiamondFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1501 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7412 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 6):
This one is a scaled model of what they want to build, but the end goal is that the full sized one will carry 66 tons of cargo. Very promising technology involved here, which could revolutionize the strategic airlift force.

There is little to no promising technology here. That specific project is being built by a company that doesn't have the greatest reputation in the LTA industry to begin with. Ultimately, this project, much like the Blue Devil and LEMV, are nothing more than corporate welfare for DOD contractors.

The airship will never be a tactical or strategic device for anyone.

-DiamondFlyer


User currently offlinecargotanker From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 152 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 7211 times:

Quoting TWA772LR (Thread starter):
I personally believe that a tactical airlifter, ala the C17, can't be a suitable replacement for a strategic transport like the C5.

How would you define a strategic vs tactical airlifter? From wikipedia: "Strategic airlift is the use of cargo aircraft to transport materiel, weaponry, or personnel over long distances. Typically, this involves airlifting the required items between two airbases which are not in the same vicinity. This allows commanders to bring items into a combat theater from a point on the other side of the planet, if necessary. Aircraft which perform this role are considered strategic airlifters. This contrasts with tactical airlifters, such as the C-130 Hercules and Transall C-160, which can normally only move supplies within a given theater of operations."

The eight examples listed include the C-17 and several aircraft the C-17 is larger than, such as the IL-76 and C-141.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 4):
Eventually a C-5 replacement will be needed,

Why?

I don't have an answer to this question but what specific pieces of cargo can only be carried by the C-5 that cannot be carried by the C-17? As far I know, the answer is the Mk V Seal Boat, an Army bridge layer vehicle, and some space/satellite cargo that is carried by modified C-5Cs. There might be a few more, maybe galaxy5007 and topboom have an answer?

So, based on the few pieces of equipment that only a C-5 can carry, does that justify the cost of a complete C-5 replacement? Or should we keep 10-20 C-5Ms around for the next 50-100 years for the occassional mission that specifically requires a C-5?


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3359 posts, RR: 26
Reply 14, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 7186 times:
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at the rate we use to do staging of equipment (months), what's wrong with a lighter than air delivery of oversized stuff.. besides we'll have the F-35 flying protection.

BTW, Kuwait has asked for another C-17, so extend the line another 3 months..


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30397 posts, RR: 84
Reply 15, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 7175 times:
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Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 7):
I'm not sure the US or Russia will be the next nation to build a strategic airlift aircraft.

I'd put my money on China, frankly.



Quoting cargotanker (Reply 13):
I don't have an answer to this question but what specific pieces of cargo can only be carried by the C-5 that cannot be carried by the C-17?

A main battle tank comes to mind, but then we sent most of those to the Middle East in 1991 and 2001 via RORO ship, as I recall.



I echo those who believe the C-5M will soldier on for the next couple of decades. Now that the USAF is getting the KC-46, that will provide a fair bit of new lift for standard palletized stuff and assuming we see the 777 Freighter replace the KC-10A down the road, that would be even more.


User currently offlinecjg225 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 753 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7047 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 15):
A main battle tank comes to mind, but then we sent most of those to the Middle East in 1991 and 2001 via RORO ship, as I recall.

Huh? The C-17 can carry an Abrams MBT.

And, yes, it is enormously more economical to carry large vehicles via ship than via strategic airlift. You only use something like the C-17 or C-5 to carry large vehicles in a special situation.



Restoring Penn State's transportation heritage...
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5377 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7015 times:

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 16):
The C-17 can carry an Abrams MBT.

Gotta love it!


Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12279 posts, RR: 47
Reply 18, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6818 times:
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Quoting kanban (Reply 14):
BTW, Kuwait has asked for another C-17, so extend the line another 3 months..

Kuwait? Do you mean Qatar or UAE?



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3359 posts, RR: 26
Reply 19, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 6686 times:
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Kuwait
http://www.fool.com/investing/genera...-sell-boeing-c-17-globemaster.aspx


User currently offlineFlyingGoat From United States of America, joined Apr 2013, 141 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 6503 times:

My guess is that it will be a BWB aircraft in about 25-30 years.

Would it be feasible to build a stretched and re-winged C-17 to replace the C-5?


User currently offlinesweair From Sweden, joined Nov 2011, 1811 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 6498 times:

My guess is also a BWB, if not suited for passengers, it will be a great cargo hauler, wide decks, not very long though. 30% more efficient than a tube+wings?

User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1654 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 6334 times:

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 16):

Huh? The C-17 can carry an Abrams MBT.

FYI, the C-17 can only carry a M1 Abrams MBT with a special waiver. The operational weight limit for loading tracked vehicles across the C-17's ramp is 130,000 lbs. A waiver was granted to allow loading of an M1 Abrams tank weighing up to 135,000 lbs. Boeing and the C-17 project office conducted studies and trials which showed that the ramp would not be adversely affected by a M1 Abrams.

Likewise, the C-5 also operates with a operational waiver as the operational weight limit for loading tracked vehicles across the C-5's ramps is 129,000 lbs.


User currently offlineTWA772LR From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 1674 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 6288 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 22):

But can't the C5 carry 2 Abrams tanks?



Я говорю по-русский. :)
User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12279 posts, RR: 47
Reply 24, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 6248 times:
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Quoting kanban (Reply 19):
Kuwait
http://www.fool.com/investing/genera....aspx

OK. I was confused by the way you worded it - I read it that Kuwait was getting more C-17s, when they don't have any. A "fleet" of one seems a little odd.



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3359 posts, RR: 26
Reply 25, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 6435 times:
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Quoting scbriml (Reply 24):
A "fleet" of one seems a little odd.

maybe the C-17 will become the BBJ of the Middle East militaries.. each country will have at least one. so how soon will the Saudi's be ordering?


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1654 posts, RR: 0
Reply 26, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 6373 times:

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 23):
But can't the C5 carry 2 Abrams tanks?

The Abrams needs special preparation to do it (ammo removed, add on armour and DU plates removed, etc) that would have rendered the tanks not combat ready upon unloading. It's highly impractical to carry heavy armour by air right now, and that's why the bulk of heavy armour gets moved around via ships and rail across long distances.


User currently offlinewoodsboy From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 1029 posts, RR: 3
Reply 27, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 6495 times:

The brand new IL"476" 76MD-90A can at least replace the C-17 when it is killed in a sad premature death when current orders are filled. The new updated IL-76MD-90A has the payload, range and more modern avionics than the C-17 which is 20+ years old now. But as far as the C-5 Galaxy.........the absolutely only thing that could come close is if they restart the AN-124 line!  

User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 28, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 6228 times:

Something that many people not having a mechanical engineering back ground never seem to think much about when they're talking about "bigger airplanes" that can carry "bigger" loads, in other words, more weight. I'm sure any aeronautical engineer who would obviously be working for any aircraft manufacturer that is likely to be designing any cargo carrying A/C as big as, or even bigger than a C-5 (or an AN-124) is already going to understand what I'm talking about............

Carrying a lot of weight is just one thing; the "shape" of the load is a whole different thing. I'm not an engineer, and I certainly don't design airplanes of any size, but I do happen to have a whole lot of experience when it comes to carrying "heavy loads".

Take a close look at all the big trucks going up and down any interstate highway; a very large % of them are pulling box-type trailers; for the past 15 years or so, almost all modern box-type freight trailers are 53 feet long. The whole reason being, that's as long as you can legally make them, and go anywhere in the U.S. on Interstate highways, without having a special permit. Anyone watching box type freight trucks on the highway has no idea at all what's inside of them.

I can tell you this without even opening up the doors...........all box trailers are used for hauling..........hundreds, even thousands of various sized BOXES ! ( with everything you can imagine, and a few things you may not imagine, in all of those boxes ! ) What you WON'T find being transported in any B-T freight trailer........are "things" that concentrate large amounts of weight into a relatively small area; "things" such as heavy machinery, bull dozers, steel in ANY of it's many forms prior to being made into finished products, etc etc etc.

Take a very close look at a big freight trailer next time you see one in a rest area on the interstate; you'll notice that they have NO frame under them at all ! Yet, you can load 40,000 lbs of "freight" in them, and they can carry it down the road; (sometimes.......but NOT always) many of them DO break in two occasionally; but that's almost always because of improper loading, by inexperienced, (or down-right stupid) help at some freight dock.

What I'm pointing out here is.....big cargo carrying airplanes, just like freight trucks, MUST be designed to accomodate the types of loads they are going to carry; if you have something that weighs, say, 40,000 lbs, (such as a 40,000 lb coil of steel), there is NO possible way to carry it in a frameless box type trailer, even though that trailer hauls 40K loads on every trip; here's an example I'm VERY familiar with; on a 40 or 42 foot freight trailer, you can haul 40,000 lbs of Duncan Hines Cake Mix; it will be in 2,800 small cartons, and will be stacked evenly, 8 ft high, over the entire length of the trailer; You CAN NOT however, haul, say, four milling machines, each weighing 10K; for several reasons; even if you loaded two 10K machines at the extreme nose, and the other two right over the rear tandem wheels, there is NO possible way to secure them properly, The EXACT same things must be taken into account when you design ANY cargo carrying A/C; Anything designed to carry,say, 40,000 to 50,000 pounds in just a few feet, MUST of necessity have a tremendously strong deck (or floor, same thing); the problem being, to gain strength, you must ADD weight; every pound you add to make the deck stronger, makes the airplane heavier, requiring more power, meaning bigger engines, which burn more fuel, and jet fuel being quite heavy, needs bigger and bigger wing area to haul all this fuel.
There are many very knowledgeable engineers contributing this forum; I'm guessing that most if not all of them will agree with me that ANY big air lifter, ( such as the C-5 Galaxy, the C-17, or the AN-124 ) , are themselves marvels of engineering; yes, you can always use newer, lighter, stronger materials to achieve slight improvements in performance;
(a great example being the new 787 ); And that's just a "mid level people carrier" ! Can you just see Boeing or AB setting out to "bet the farm" trying to build something to carry more load, get there quicker, burn less fuel, than what we have right now ? It may not be impossible from an engineering standpoint, but I think it would require about three times the effort that went into the A 380 ! Yes, the A 380 and the B 747 are both used for hauling "cargo"; but that's a word that describes MANY things; you will never see for instance, an airplane hauling an object which concentrates as much load, in as little space, as a 50,000 lb coli of sheet steel; yet 50K coils are carried daily by 5 axle tractor trailer trucks weighing on average, 40,000 lbs. ( I should add, many loads of steel being hauled ARE indeed "overweight", and can and do cause very hefty fines when caught. (but that's another story)


Back to the C-5 Galaxy; I've never had the pleasure of flying in one, but I have been inside of quite a few of them, and I have spent quite a bit of time examining and studying the cargo ramps that extend out to the tarmac to allow such tremendous loads as an M-1 Abrams MBT to be driven into the cargo bay of the A/C; someone mentioned that an M-i Abrams weighs like 129,000 lbs; so two of them would present a load of about 260,000 lbs. I forget the exact figures for the cargo bay of the C-5, but I can tell you from memory, it's pretty d*** long; a lot longer than two M-1A1's parked, ened to end, I'm guessing; but just getting them inside of the airplane is just the beginning; you have two VERY heavy objects, both of which "concentrate" something like 65 tons of weight, into a pretty small area; Just for the sake of illustration, I'm going to guess that 2 M1A1 tanks, parked touching each other, would use up, say, 2/3, or maybe even 3/4 of the cargo bay length;

I'm also going to assume that the people who designed the C-5 Galaxy had a pretty fair idea of what kinds of military hardware it was going to be called on to transport. Anything designed to haul things as heavy as a single or even two M-1A1 tanks is obviously going to need a VERY rigid and strong supporting deck, not only to support the weight, but to offer something strong enough to tie to, to keep all that weight from moving during flight;

I remember quite well the very first C-5 Galaxy I saw on the ground and got to walk through; I even had a chance to speak with the flight crew and ask a few dumb questions; this was probably within a year of when the C-5 first went into service, so it's "been awhile" now. I even remember what I asked the pilot; "when are you leaving to return to Georgia"? (because I'm going to be here to watch !) He seemed to like my question, and gave me a very specific answer; "8:45 AM, tomorrow morning" ; my other question was........this gigantic cargo area is completely empty; so may I correctly assume you will have a very light fuel load ? This question got a huge grin on his face ! (which, as far as I can recall, is probably the first and possibly only time I've said anything to a "bird Colonel" that made him grin); He said to me........"not only is your assumption correct, I can ALSO tell you, when we climb out, a lot of people watching are going to think "this thing" is a great big fighter plane ! I was AT Lunken Airport an hour before the C-5 departed (at exactly 8:45 AM), and I doubt if many C-5's have ever made a more "impressive" take-off and climb out ! ( Somehow, I don't think you would be likely to see such impressive performance if the C-5 was carrying even one M-1A1 MBT.)

Taking all of this into consideration, even though I have no idea what the Generals running the USAF are going to think what they need next in the way of air lift capability, I really can't see a whole lot of escalating "need" or "demand" for much greater airlift capability than exists right now; and taking into consideration that the development costs for anything even equalling the C-5's capability are certainly sure to be at least double, if not quadruple what the C-5's were, I'm guessing that the USAF may even be obliged at some point to rely on Fed-Ex or UPS for the bulk of their airlift needs. ( Just remember...........everything requiring "funding" STARTS in the House of Representatives, which as everyone knows, is currently controlled by a bunch of "tight-###" Republicans who are actually concerned with "fiscal discipline".)

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlineneutrino From Singapore, joined May 2012, 600 posts, RR: 0
Reply 29, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6182 times:

Quoting Geezer (Reply 28):

Wow Geezer, that's a loooong and interesting read.
Being a technical person, I am aware of the points you made but you put them across so succinctly that any Tom, Dick & Harry with no previous clue would immediately understand. Thanks.



Potestatem obscuri lateris nescitis
User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 30, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6109 times:

Thank you Neutrino ! If you really want to read a completely fascinating thread about something totally "over my head", be sure to read .................( damn, can't think of his username just now), anyway, it's the thread titled "My life with STS 107 ? ( I should have checked the thread before I tried to write this ) Anyway, I think it's the best thing I've ever read about on A.net.

BTW........the things I was attempting to point out about airplanes.......it's largely why I have always been so interested in them. Many people tend to look at a particular airplane and attempt to judge "how good" it is, simply by "how pretty" it is;
I'm sure everyone likes to look at "pretty" airplanes, (and I'm no exception), but I tend to think about "how successful" a particular type is. A good example of what I'm talking about........in the early 1960's I was driving tank trucks for Texaco, and much of the time, I was hauling four 7,000 gallon loads of 100/130 octane Av gas to CVG every day; at the time, there were only six jet flights per day at CVG, and all were B 707's; I always thought 707s were "pretty" to look at, (and still do) After a year or so, I think it was either Delta or TWA, started flying Convair 880's; everyone thought they were ever so neat ! Pretty soon, we start seeing Convair 990's; my point being..........a lot of young guys nowadays never even heard of a CV 880 or 990 ! So, obviously, a whole lot more than mere "looks" is required to last any length of time in the commercial airplane business!

I guess the best example of all, is the "BUFF"; How many bombers has ANY company ever built, that after 50 years, the newest one in the whole USAF inventory is half again as old as the pilots flying them? and...are B-52's "pretty"? It depends a lot on how you define "pretty", but to me, walking up to a B-52 and just touching it with my finger tips is......thrilling ! No other to describe it. I clearly remember seeing the first Boeing 737; I thought the engines looked rather "skinny".......and at the time, I actually thought they looked ........."sort of chubby" ! But that was quite a while ago wasn't it ? Today, the engines are no longer skinny, they have BEAUTIFUL winglets, and my favorite airline in all the world has managed to "make a profit" with nothing BUT 737's for quite some time now !

Adding all of this up, I have to think.............who came up with all of these marvelous machines ? "Stylists" like in the auto industry ? Hardly; engineers came up with every one of them; all kinds of engineers......from aeronautical, to electrical, mechanical, and some I probably can't even pronounce; so, thank you engineers for all of these beautiful airplanes !



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlineneutrino From Singapore, joined May 2012, 600 posts, RR: 0
Reply 31, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 6019 times:

Quoting Geezer (Reply 30):

Thank you Neutrino ! If you really want to read a completely fascinating thread about something totally "over my head", be sure to read .................( damn, can't think of his username just now), anyway, it's the thread titled "My life with STS 107 ?

It's cornutt. I understand the problem with memory recall with atrophying grey cells of ancient A.netters like us.  
I have read the posts and am always looking forward to the next installment. An amazing recollection of an insider who was in the thick of happenings in the aeronautical and space technology world. Great prologue on his early life connection in the industry too.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! How true.
The Warthog whom a lot of people described as butt-ugly is one of the mean fighting airborne machines whose looks I admire. Ditto the Buff which no one but its real aficionados would describe as a thing of beauty. Its a fortune to me for having had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the latter (a D model) at the museum in the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul some years back.



Potestatem obscuri lateris nescitis
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15695 posts, RR: 26
Reply 32, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5785 times:

Quoting Geezer (Reply 28):
Carrying a lot of weight is just one thing; the "shape" of the load is a whole different thing. I'm not an engineer, and I certainly don't design airplanes of any size, but I do happen to have a whole lot of experience when it comes to carrying "heavy loads".

That sort of thing is definitely considered. Even the Space Shuttle had it's cargo hold sized especially to carry the latest (at the time) spy satellites.

The issues come when the Army doesn't want their next generation of vehicles downsized and the Air Force doesn't want to spend part of their hard won budget on moving the Army's stuff around.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 28):
someone mentioned that an M-i Abrams weighs like 129,000 lbs; so two of them would present a load of about 260,000 lbs.

Probably a little less, since I imagine they would be flown sans ammunition and most fuel.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7497 posts, RR: 32
Reply 33, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5662 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 32):
want their next generation of vehicles downsized

I believe a more likely air cargo with physical size limits would be helicopters rather than vehicles.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1654 posts, RR: 0
Reply 34, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5572 times:

Quoting woodsboy (Reply 27):
The brand new IL"476" 76MD-90A can at least replace the C-17 when it is killed in a sad premature death when current orders are filled. The new updated IL-76MD-90A has the payload, range and more modern avionics than the C-17 which is 20+ years old now. But as far as the C-5 Galaxy.........the absolutely only thing that could come close is if they restart the AN-124 line!

You can't stuff a M1 Abrams or any Western tank for that matter into a IL-476 because they are all too wide...

I believe the Indians have stuffed a T-72 into a IL-76 as a emergency measure for a deployment to Sri Lanka in the past, but apparently it was a extremely tight fit, they had to bend a lot of rules and restrictions, and getting it on and off the aircraft caused damage to the aircraft.


User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 35, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5355 times:

Quoting neutrino (Reply 31):
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! How true.

What a coincidence you should mention another of my all time favorite airplanes, neutrino !........the Warthog ! (The BIG gun with wings on it !) When I "behold" an A-10......I see..... beauty ! ( when the Iraqi troops in the desert saw one, they jumped out of their tanks and ran for their lives ! ) ( I can't say as I blame them! )

Back to "possible new big air lifters"...........here's my prediction;

If you wait for the U.S. military to develope a blended wing-body type aircraft as the next generation of heavy-lift transport, you're going to have to wait a VERY long time. There are many reasons I say this.

First of all, the military doesn't look at things like, say, an airline does. Most airlines are profit oriented businesses; as such, any new airliner that anyone comes out with had better have a big advantage in fuel efficiency and overall capability over the competition, or they're not likely to see very many orders; as we all know, airliners that don't attract many orders don't stay around very long at all.

When the B-2 stealth bomber was being developed, because of it's "flying wing" design, and it's large use of lighter composite materials used in it's construction, it achieves great efficiency from an aerodynamic standpoint, which translates into much better range, at the expense of much less speed. It's a fabulous airplane, no doubt about it, but it
does have a major disadvantage; it costs too much ! (Way, way too much to afford to have very many)

Obviously, the USAF doesn't look at an airlifter like they look at a bomber; an airlifter needs to be "efficient" to a degree, but it also needs to have other capabilities that are even more important; obviously, any new airlifter looking to replace the C-5 is of necessity going to be required to lift at least as much weight, and before you can "air-lift" a big tank, you're going to need a very efficient method of getting the tank into the airplane. After having walked through the cargo bay of a few C-5s, I can tell you this; all commercial freight trailers now-a-days are exactly 108 inches wide, and 13ft. 6 inches high; you can drive two of them side by side into a C-5; it's going to require two VERY careful drivers, as both trailers are going to have very little room between them, and not much between them and the airplane on each side. If I'm not mistaken, there's also room for two more behind the first two. ( Are there any airplane designers here who can explain to us how this could EVER be achieved with a BWB type A/C ? )

Here's something else that many people never seem to give much thought to; all airplanes, even huge cargo planes like the C-5 Galaxy and the AN-225 are not perfectly level at all times; what they all have in common is, they are all essentially great big fat "cylindrically" shaped tubes with wings; and they all must "bank" on their roll axis, while moving on their yaw axis, in order to change their heading; I don't know the exact diameter of a C-5's fuselage, or the AN-225's fuselage, but whatever it is, nothing inside the airplane is EVER more the 1/2 of the fuselages's diameter from the airplane's roll axis.

Contrast this fact with a BWB type A/C with the same cargo-carrying capability; I should also mention about here, this is yet another of the very good reasons why BWB type A/C are not likely to be hauling many hundreds of people any time soon; I'm assuming that every one on A.net has flown in at least one airliner, many have flown in "quite a few"; remember what happens every time the airplane changes heading to the left ? the right wing comes UP, and all the PAX on the right side go "up" a few feet also, while the guys on the left side go "down"; I'm sure everyone has watched the wing tips during a bank ? ( If you went "up" 2 or 3 ft, that right winglet went "up" 20 ft !) Now try to imagine some heavy cargo being transported in a BWB cargo plane, that is very far from the centerline of the plane; all I can say is, you sure better have it fastened down good !

The only people who would be likely to ride in a BWB type airliner more than once, are the teen agers who run all over looking to ride the next "biggest, fastest" roller-coaster.
IMO, an even bigger problem with trying to design a BWB type airliner, you're either going to need to pressurize the thing, or all the PAX are going to have to wear a pressure suit; (I can just see that!) Once again, we have a lot of engineers here; they'll all tell you the same thing.........the easiest thing to pressurize is a sphere, and the second easiest thing is a cylinder; ( and the cabin of a BWB airliner is no where near either!)

No, the cargo space in a big airlifter does't need to be pressurized, but all the cargo DOES need to be securely "tied down"; and doing that in anything other than a conventional, "tube & wing" airplane would present more problems than you can imagine !

I think everything above is enough to insure we won't be seeing BWB air lifters; but there is still a much BIGGER hurdle to overcome; Because I've "been around" longer than most people, I can clearly remember when the C-5 Galaxy was being developed. To say it was a long, drawn-out process would be a gross understatement; I also remember the C-17's development.........that was a pretty "pricey" undertaking also; and both of those are plain old, "tube and wing" airplanes; trying to develop a BWB airlifter would probably make the big F-35 project look "cheap" by comparison.

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2055 posts, RR: 4
Reply 36, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 5289 times:

Quoting Geezer (Reply 35):
but it
does have a major disadvantage; it costs too much !

I do have a little insight on the internal structure of the B-2. (Talked to someone who worked it after the program was declassified). Just lets say that structurally, the progress in composite fabrication have changed significantly enough to drive down the cost. Just look at the 787.

Sure, the 787 is having lots of issue, but the only issue that is composite structural related was the wing root interface, and that was quickly fixed.

Not to say that there are no challenges with the BWB aircraft structurally, but I would put my money on Boeing to be able to deliver a BWB composite fuselage at a reasonable price. On all the other stuff . . . I'm not going to bet the farm 

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlineneutrino From Singapore, joined May 2012, 600 posts, RR: 0
Reply 37, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 5226 times:

Quoting Geezer (Reply 35):

  
Another loooong and interesting read from our resident loads expert.

I believe operational BWB or HWB freightlifters/paxliners will be gracing our skies in the future but I doubt both you & I will be around to witness that day.     

Your mention of the Galaxy here made me recall your previous post of that giant's "impressive" take-off and climb out.
Back in '79, I had also witnessed such a fighter-like performance at Clark Air Base in The Philippines.
An awed colleague beside me who is not as much into aviation remarked: "Do this jumbo jet have the F-15's very powerful engines?" He had earlier saw the Eagle "rocketing off" and had been told in answer to his query that the fighter's high thrust-to-weight ratio engines made that steep climb possible.
A sadder incident a year later at the same base occurred before my eyes when that mighty airlifter hit the runway very heavily on touchdown. It then bounced unsteadily on its port and then starboard undercarriage a couple of times amid tire smokes. The wings were flexing like crazy and we thought the worst might happen. Thankfully, it finally came to a complete stop at the end of that long runway in one shaken piece. It was later towed to a hanger and remained there when my tour of duty at Clark ended a few months later.



Potestatem obscuri lateris nescitis
User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 38, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5171 times:

Quoting neutrino (Reply 37):
Your mention of the Galaxy here made me recall your previous post of that giant's "impressive" take-off and climb out.

Neutrino........That particular Galaxy that I mentioned seeing at Lunken airport............not too long afterward, maybe 6 months or so, was in the process of being fueled at it's base in Marietta. Georgia; due to improper grounding, there was a spark...........just one spark.........followed by a huge fire, and the whole aircraft was destroyed.

That incident was particularly significant to me because I was very fortunate to have survived (just barely) a similar incident involving loading jet A at a loading rack at a Texaco bulk terminal in Cincinnati, a few years before the Galaxy was destroyed. In that fire, five tank trucks, all loaded with gasoline, were destroyed, a driver was permanently crippled, and the 750,000 gal storage tank adjacent to the loading rack narrowly escaped catching on fire, which would have burned the whole bulk terminal down. It happened in the late 60s and to date, is still the biggest petroleum fire in Cincinnati history.

You may be right about BWBs someday hauling freight, but I still seriously doubt it; I think there are far too many difficulties to overcome, in comparison to the meager benefits it would provide. And please don't misunderstand......I'm certainly not against composite structure in airplanes; I still think the 787 is going to prove it's worth now that they have (hopefully) found a fix for the battery issues.



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2055 posts, RR: 4
Reply 39, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5168 times:

Quoting Geezer (Reply 38):
I think there are far too many difficulties to overcome

We are just going to have to breed more adaptable passengers. How are we going to survive space travel if we can't learn how to fly in a BWB?  

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 40, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 5099 times:

Oh bt ! (can't stop laughing)........No.1 I have NO plans to do ANY space traveling, and ANY airplane I get on better have a window seat empty, or else somebody's gonna have to move !

I read someplace a ways back that in order to "get around" the "must have a window seat" crowd, (me), that they were thinking of mounting a bunch of external video cams, and just have a monitor for every pax; ( I'm thinking they might oughta have a big supply of barff bags handy too, if that sucker has to do any serious "banking".......



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
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