I've finally found a source of some if not technical then at least more detailed information about An-124. I'll quote it intensively in my reply. Unfortunately it's in Russian so I'd like to apologize in advance for the lousy translation.
There is no doubt that the An-124 was designed using the C-5 as a role model.
Well, there is a big difference between "using as a role model" and being "just a bad copy". Should I say more?
FBW technology was not widely used (if used at all) when the C-5 was designed.
Sure. I just wanted to say that C-5 and An-124 are pretty darn different.
I can't really respond to this remark as I don't have any data to go by.
Why did you make such nasty remarks in your original post then? As far as I loosely remember (I've read it 3 or 4 years ago and don't even remember the source), there were 2 fatal crashes of An-124 besides the well-known one in 1997 in Irkutsk (it was a chartered military plane there, BTW). Both of them happened in the middle of 80th during test and/or delivery acceptance flights. What is the statistics for C-5?
The An-124's cargo hold is pressurrized, but it is not pressurized at the same level as the upper decks. Anyone downstairs in flight would need to be on oxygen when at altitudes greater than 10000 feet.
It appears, you're partially right. The quote: "Pressurization of the cargo compartment provides a pressure difference of at least 25kPa. This allows one to ferry passengers at altitudes of up to 8000m without an oxygen equipment". Not that
bad after all. Does C-5 have any limitations?
If I'm not mistaken, the An-124's kneeling system has only one position -- down. The C-5 offers three kneeling positions -- forward, level, and aft.
The following diagram from the old Volga-Dnepr site shows that at least forward and aft kneelings are possible. I'm not sure about the level one (but why not?) On the other hand, I don't see any reason for An-124 operators to use a level kneeling. C-5 needs it to simplify loading of cargo from trucks (am I right?), but cranes solve this problem for An-124 (see also below).
This makes it possible to load/offload the same type of cargo from both ends, especially on a C-5C model.
Just go and see: http://www.antonovaircargo.com/cargo/cargoes.en
Can the An-124 perform cardo airdrops? I don't see how without rollers.
Yes, it can. "[An-214] is designed for ferrying of combat and support equipment for great distances, chute airdrops of cargos and combat equipment with crews, ferrying of oversized and heavy industrial cargos". And "the pressurized cargo compartment provides [....] chute airdrops of cargos of up to 100t on pallets and also specially prepared cargos and equipment without usage of pallets". Finally "the cargo compartment is equipped with two on-board loading cranes with maximal load of 10t each and moving floor-located electrical winches with maximal pulling force of 4.5t each. The rolling equipment found in the aircraft allows one to load and unload single-piece cargos of up to 50t".
So An-124 does
have winches and does
have rollers. But it does
have cranes as well. May I now safely state that the cargo-loading equipment of An-124 is more
advanced than the one of C-5?
Why does the An-124's cargo floor require a plywood-type covering, is it not strong enough without it?
No ideas. Does it? The cargo floor of An-124 is made of titanium alloys to allow ferrying of main battle tanks, according to numerous sources. I guess titanium should be at least as strong as plywood.
Cargo loading operations with a C-5 will not usually consist of floor loading a bunch of cargo. Almost all non-rollerized cargo is placed on pallets then loaded.
This works in most of the cases except when loading/unloading directly from trucks. You must admit that cranes are unrivaled in this case. And it's not that rare nowadays: most of the relief aid operations need it.
Are you going to tell me that all new aircraft, especially ones this complicated and advanced for its time, goes from the drawing board to production to service without any glitches?
No, I'm not going to say this, I've never said this, and I never will. What I was saying was just that it's not at all obvious (and possibly dubious) that C-5 is better than An-124 in terms of reliability. Do you see the point? If you simply said that overall reliability of C-5 is great, it would be just fine. But since you wrote (at least implied) that it's better than the one of An-124, you need to back
your claims somehow. Especially in light of obvious (though natural) initial problems with C-5.
Remember, the jet-powered "heavy lifter" concept (C-5 and 747) had been around (in service) for 15 years when the An-124 finally came along. By that time, most of the "kinks" had been worked out.
Definitely. So it wouldn't be a shame for C-5 to be even less reliable than An-124, would it?
Since I don't have any facts to compare the two in this respect, I have to stick with the conjunctive mood. Do you?
Now, let me say this -- as I said before -- I really don't want to get into a big pissing contest on this issue. Both of these aircraft are very capable of accomplishing the tasks they were designed to do.
You must admit now that this sentence is very different from the temper of your original post. "poorly built aircraft" are not the worst words you used to describe An-124. The discussion is more mature now, isn't it?
However, I must look at the C-5 as being the "original" jet-powered heavy lifter.
I see nothing wrong with this one.