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Purpose-built Freighters?  
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6384 posts, RR: 3
Posted (4 years 10 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3824 times:

I was thinking back to the failed Ayres Loadmaster project ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayres_LM200_Loadmaster ), and got to thinking: why does freight move about in types that are generally originally designed as passenger aircraft?

What gains could we see in cargo lift capacity if we were using aircraft that were purpose-built as freighters in the first place, and not either converted from passenger airliners or a derivative design of a passenger airliner?

BTW, the Loadmaster project seems to have failed because of the bankruptcy of the engine producer around the 1998-2000 timeframe...


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2351 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (4 years 10 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3810 times:
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Most freighters do not fly as much as do most passenger aircraft. This significantly alters the economics. While older aircraft tend to be more expensive to fly (per hour), they are far less expensive to acquire. Consider the following numbers as an example:

New aircraft $/hr: 5000
New aircraft $/mo: 500,000

Old aircraft $/hr: 8000
Old aircraft $/mo: 75,000

The "per-hour" costs include things like fuel, maintenance and general operating costs. Obviously all are lower on a newer, more efficient, aircraft. The "per-month" numbers are effectively the capital cost for the aircraft. $500K/mo is about what the lease payments on something like a new 767 would be, and the $5000/hr would be the ballpark operating costs for a new 767. You could probably get a similarly sized DC-8 or 707 for the "old" numbers.

So if your new aircraft flies 300 hours/month (not uncommon for a new medium/long range passenger aircraft), the new aircraft will cost you $2,000,000/mo, and the old aircraft $2,475,000/mo. Obviously the new airplane is a much better deal. If, OTOH, it's more like 80 flying hours per month, the new airplane costs your $900,000/mo, while the old one only costs $715,000/mo.

But that's not unique to freighters - anyone flying only a few hours will tend to use old aircraft - look at all the prehistoric aircraft hauled out of storage for a month for the purpose transporting a few million people for Hajj, or the many older aircraft flying irregular charter hours. On the flip side, consider FedEx's shiny new 777Fs - these are going to be flying long haul across the Pacific, and will be racking up *lots* of hours.

Then there are some less tangible issues. Freight doesn’t care that it’s on a 30 year old aircraft, while an passenger airline may well be wanting to present a more modern image. Also, the older aircraft will often have less range than the newer models, and while passengers hate extra stops, freight doesn’t care if you have to stop for gas.


User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (4 years 10 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 3762 times:



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 1):
On the flip side, consider FedEx's shiny new 777Fs - these are going to be flying long haul across the Pacific, and will be racking up *lots* of hours.

The same applies to the MD-11 as well, very short layovers for the jet, it keeps going and going. Even domestically with all the am & pm out & backs as well as day turns there's much fewer jets sitting for the day.

Quoting Rwessel (Reply 1):
freight doesn’t care if you have to stop for gas.

no, but the efficiency of the system does. I can't think of any flights that make a stop strictly for fuel. Originally ALA was a fuel stop/crew change for the eastbound legs of FRA-NRT/PVGHKG, etc but now even there is a sort with both east & west bound flights meeting.


User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2351 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (4 years 10 months 4 days ago) and read 3661 times:
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Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 2):
no, but the efficiency of the system does. I can't think of any flights that make a stop strictly for fuel. Originally ALA was a fuel stop/crew change for the eastbound legs of FRA-NRT/PVGHKG, etc but now even there is a sort with both east & west bound flights meeting.

I was thinking more about the many trans-pacific freight flights that stop in ANC. Newer (and costly to acquire) aircraft might be able to do it non-stop, particularly at reduced loads.


User currently offlineSEATTLE From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 63 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3608 times:



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 2):
I can't think of any flights that make a stop strictly for fuel.

The cargo airline I used to work for about 60% of the time made a stop strictly for fuel in SLC during it's voyage from DFW to SEA.


User currently offlineFX772LRF From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 675 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3603 times:

I think what KELPkid is trying to get at is not that freight airlines like FX and 5X have used aircraft, but that they have a design of a passenger aircraft that was slightly edited to be used for freight.

And he's wondering why Boeing or Airbus don't design a 797 or a A360 designed solely for freight usage, and not ever as a passenger jet.

I think it's an interesting inquiry. I hope to see some interesting posts about this topic.  Smile

-Noah  wave 



Cleared to IAH via CLL 076 radial/BAZBL/RIICE3, up to 3k, 7k in 10, departure on 134.3, squawk 4676, Colgan 9581.
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3601 times:



Quoting FX772LRF (Reply 5):
And he's wondering why Boeing or Airbus don't design a 797 or a A360 designed solely for freight usage, and not ever as a passenger jet.

Because the market is so low they would never make any profit.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6384 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3575 times:



Quoting FX772LRF (Reply 5):

And he's wondering why Boeing or Airbus don't design a 797 or a A360 designed solely for freight usage, and not ever as a passenger jet.

I think it's an interesting inquiry. I hope to see some interesting posts about this topic.

 checkmark   checkmark   checkmark 

Precisely. And I was going to say something about that, but you made it easy, all I have to do is confirm your post  Smile



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3068 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3559 times:



Quoting 474218 (Reply 6):
Quoting FX772LRF (Reply 5):
And he's wondering why Boeing or Airbus don't design a 797 or a A360 designed solely for freight usage, and not ever as a passenger jet.

Because the market is so low they would never make any profit.

 checkmark 

Furthermore, what specific needs does a cargo aircraft have that can't be addressed by making modifications (such as installing larger loading doors) to existing passenger aircraft?



Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlineTF39 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3532 times:



Quoting TSS (Reply 8):
Furthermore, what specific needs does a cargo aircraft have that can't be addressed by making modifications (such as installing larger loading doors) to existing passenger aircraft?

Maybe not a good example but all I can think of that might fit this are military cargo lifters. Purpose built for fast loading/unloading and with the C-5, AN-124, C-17, capability to load out-sized cargo "traditional" types can't.

But to the OP's original question, I can't think of any examples and I agree with others that the market (specifically commercial) is not there to support a pure freighter design not leveraged from a passenger design. The AN-124 has found a good market in the outsize civilian role but that was not its original market.


User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3507 times:



Quoting SEATTLE (Reply 4):
The cargo airline I used to work for about 60% of the time made a stop strictly for fuel in SLC during it's voyage from DFW to SEA.

I guess I should have qualified my statement to FDX only.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6384 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3485 times:

Here's one potential advantage:

since cargo doesn't (always) need pressurization, you might be able to save significant aircraft weight by only pressurizing the flight deck and a small galley/crew rest area...  Wink

think Boeing LCF.



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3471 times:

Interesting but consider we may fly live cargo on one leg and "normal" cargo on the next. Not uncommon at all.

User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6384 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days ago) and read 3399 times:



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 12):
Interesting but consider we may fly live cargo on one leg and "normal" cargo on the next. Not uncommon at all.

Just make sure you never carry Tom Hanks back there  duck 

Seriously, though, is live cargo just on the manifest (e.g., a few boxes loaded with Koi amongst the standard parcels), or do you have, say, 18 clydesdale horses and a beer wagon back there?



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineScooter01 From Norway, joined Nov 2006, 1204 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (4 years 10 months 3 days ago) and read 3388 times:
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Quoting KELPkid (Reply 13):
Seriously, though, is live cargo just on the manifest (e.g., a few boxes loaded with Koi amongst the standard parcels), or do you have, say, 18 clydesdale horses and a beer wagon back there?

Came across this pic earlier today while looking for an aircraft built for hauling freight.
Read the comment...
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Eric Coeckelberghs



Scooter01



"We all have a girl and her name is nostalgia" - Hemingway
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 15, posted (4 years 10 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3372 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 13):
Seriously, though, is live cargo just on the manifest (e.g., a few boxes loaded with Koi amongst the standard parcels), or do you have, say, 18 clydesdale horses and a beer wagon back there?

Yes & yes We carry almost any combo you might imagine. Tropical fish, race horses, cows, and even panda bears.


User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3068 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (4 years 10 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3308 times:

Quoting TF39 (Reply 9):
Quoting TSS (Reply 8):
Furthermore, what specific needs does a cargo aircraft have that can't be addressed by making modifications (such as installing larger loading doors) to existing passenger aircraft?

Maybe not a good example but all I can think of that might fit this are military cargo lifters. Purpose built for fast loading/unloading and with the C-5, AN-124, C-17, capability to load out-sized cargo "traditional" types can't.

I think that's a very good example. With the possible exception of 747s equipped with the cargo door on the nose (I'm not sure if that can be retrofitted to former passenger 747s or if it's only available from the factory on purpose-built 747-Fs), if you've got one long and large piece of cargo that needs to be transported by air then your options are rather limited. But in the real, everyday world how often does such a specific need arise?

[Edited 2009-11-19 22:34:33]


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User currently offline9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 717 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (4 years 10 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3284 times:
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Quoting TSS (Reply 16):
But in the real, everyday world how often does such a specific need arise?

Quite often. It just that ordinary joes never get to see it. My friend worked for a shipping company and they often have to deal with weird and wacky cargo, everything from super long pipes that had to be airflown to a certain location and racing yachts. People with such a need will tend to go straight to the specialist carriers rather than try and get space on the usual haulers.

She did say that the costs were phenomenal though.



Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (4 years 10 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3233 times:



Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 17):
the costs were phenomenal

It cost the company I was working for over $1M between the shipping charges and the insurance to ship a satellite from California to French Guiana on an Antonov An-124. The satellite was worth at least $100M. This was in 2004. Apparently, on the way to California to pick up our very precious cargo, there was a "small encounter" with a ground service vehicle, and there were a few 6" long dents in the leading edge of one of the wings. The pilots assured us it wouldn't be a problem. I'll see if I can stir up the pics over the weekend.



Position and hold
User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (4 years 10 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3231 times:

Hey, speaking of which -- the An-124 and An-225 are pretty good examples of purpose-built freighters, aren't they? I guess they were designed more for military use, like the C-5, but now see at least as much, if not more, service in commercial cargo operations. They were never designed to carry passengers though.


Position and hold
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6384 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (4 years 10 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3178 times:



Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 19):
Hey, speaking of which -- the An-124 and An-225 are pretty good examples of purpose-built freighters, aren't they? I guess they were designed more for military use, like the C-5, but now see at least as much, if not more, service in commercial cargo operations. They were never designed to carry passengers though.

I don't know for sure, but I'm sure that the An-124 was probably designed like the C-141, where the cargo deck was pressurized, so the aircraft could slow down and paratroopers could jump out either the side doors or the rear (and even do it at high altitude with an oxygen tank and mask  Wink ). Troops could use special seats attached to the sidewalls of the cargo deck, or even palletized seats...

I'm sure the C-5 and C-17 have similar capabilities  Smile Definitely something a civil freighter wouldn't need (unless you were counting on using it for mass parachute ops...).



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineJetlife2 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 221 posts, RR: 25
Reply 21, posted (4 years 10 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3117 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 20):
I'm sure that the An-124 was probably designed like the C-141, where the cargo deck was pressurized,

Actually no the An-124 cargo deck is not pressurized. There is a small pressurized cabin in the upper aft of the aircraft that is separate from the cockpit. You climb up a ladder about 12 feet, pull it up, and close a pressurized hatch in the floor behind you. I flew on one, on a 5-hr run from Columbus to Seattle once.


User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2351 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (4 years 10 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3117 times:
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Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 19):
Hey, speaking of which -- the An-124 and An-225 are pretty good examples of purpose-built freighters, aren't they? I guess they were designed more for military use, like the C-5, but now see at least as much, if not more, service in commercial cargo operations. They were never designed to carry passengers though.

Well, there are more military An-124s than there are civilian ones (although the additional ones on order will tip that balance). It's hard to say how much the Russian and Ukrainian air forces actually fly theirs, though. OTOH, much of the civil fleet is busy hauling military cargo.

The An-225 was never really a military design as such, rather it was a quick-and-dirty stretch of the -124 to carry Buran. Its obviously unique capabilities don't quite manage to keep a single airframe busy - which is something of a comment on the market for something like that.

The C-130 has sold some 114 copies in its civilian version (as the L-100), and a fair number of C-130s have been transferred to civilian operators.

Boeing has shopped a civilian version of the C-17, but has not found any takers.


User currently offlineAirstairFear From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 10 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2998 times:



Quoting Scooter01 (Reply 14):

Came across this pic earlier today while looking for an aircraft built for hauling freight.
Read the comment...

Ok, that is officially disturbing. I sure hope he was joking. Why would they eat horses? They can't be cheaper than cows, especially after flying them across the pacific in a 747 live. But then again I can't think of any other reason Japan would want a bunch of broken down old horses.



CAM-1: Aw #. We're gonna hit houses dude.
User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8964 posts, RR: 39
Reply 24, posted (4 years 10 months 1 day ago) and read 2988 times:



Quoting TF39 (Reply 9):

Maybe not a good example but all I can think of that might fit this are military cargo lifters. Purpose built for fast loading/unloading and with the C-5, AN-124, C-17, capability to load out-sized cargo "traditional" types can't.



Quoting TSS (Reply 16):

I think that's a very good example. With the possible exception of 747s equipped with the cargo door on the nose (I'm not sure if that can be retrofitted to former passenger 747s or if it's only available from the factory on purpose-built 747-Fs), if you've got one long and large piece of cargo that needs to be transported by air then your options are rather limited. But in the real, everyday world how often does such a specific need arise?



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 22):
Boeing has shopped a civilian version of the C-17, but has not found any takers.

I would assume that military haulers are far too capable to be used for freight hauling purposes. They are built with military needs, not fuel-sipping and low maintenance/acquisition costs, in mind.


The first thing that jumped on my mind when I saw this thread, though, is blended wind-body designs. it's not gonna be much relief for capital costs, as someone mentioned, but perhaps a less demanding FAA/JAA certification process (since it doesn't transport pax) could help out.



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
25 474218 : Horse meat is eaten throughout the world. A quick Google search can provide details. By the way, It's not bad.
26 Post contains links and images Gemuser : Both the Bristol Freighter and Armstrong -Withworth Argosy were both designed as joint military/civil freighters. The Freighter: View Large View Mediu
27 Post contains images Keesje : . . .
28 Stitch : A BWB would make a solid freighter, but might not be so great as a passenger carrier. One additional advantage of using a passenger frame for cargo is
29 Post contains links Wingscrubber : Not so - apparently quatar airways has bought a couple. This flight global article has a picture of one in their livery, looks awesome The grey-on-wh
30 Wingscrubber : Hah... I read the blurb after posting the link, seems those Quatar C-17s are still going to be used primarily for military work despite being dressed
31 Stitch : Yes, those are military-spec C-17s.
32 Viscount724 : Horsemeat used to be one of the largest air cargo commodities from Canada to several countries in Europe, France in particular. I think it's still a
33 Cptspeaking : The C-17 is what first popped into my mind - built as a hauler, and still in production. Not that it'll be anytime in the real near future, but I woul
34 KELPkid : Wonder if we'll ever see civilian operators landing them really short on dirt and/or gravel, and then backing up using reverse thrust
35 Starlionblue : Didn't Boeing try to sell the C-17 as a civilian aircraft for a while, and fail?
36 Stitch : Well being a military design it's overbuilt and would likely be more maintenance-intensive than a model designed for only the civilian market.
37 Post contains links Tdscanuck : Enourmous maintenance requirements, odd ground service equipment, heavy for its payload capability, small support base, much lower duty cycle...it's
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