Possible Commercial C-17

Fri Feb 02, 2001 7:43 am

An article ran in last Fridays Boeing news and todays SeattleTimes, they are studying a possible commercial C-17 derivative, designated the BC-17X.
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RE: Possible Commercial C-17

Fri Feb 02, 2001 7:55 am

It is totaly up to the US Air Force, as they are the ones who paid for it's developement. I read an article in Air Force times last week that stated the C-17 would not be good for most cargo carriers, because it lacks range, and holds cargo outsized in nature, so it would do alot of sitting around waiting for a load that would require it. Also the Air Force is considering taking the C-17 off of the 'Munitions List" which currently keeps it out of anyone other than the USAF's hands. If that happens Boeing will be allowed to market it. Also the article stated that it would be very expensive because of the miltary applications it has on it, while some of the countermeasures could be taken off reducing expense, things like the airdrop system, and other systems were unable to be removed because it is part of the design.
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RE: Possible Commercial C-17

Fri Feb 02, 2001 8:39 am

The article begins:

When Boeing's C-17 military cargo jet carried Keiko the killer whale to freedom two years ago, the flight grabbed headlines around the world. It was the only aircraft with enough heft and agility to ferry the 9,050-pound mammal and drop him off at a tiny airstrip near his native waters in Iceland.

But it does not tell that after landing with Keiko on the tiny dirt airstrip on Heymaey, Iceland it was sitting there for two weeks while having its landing gear repaired....!
Anyway, it was really impressive that it could actually have made it with a little better luck. Last time I landed there it was in a BN Islander, and I didn't think that the RWY was one inch too big.
I just wonder if there is a civil market for such an expensive and specialized plane. At the time when the AN-124 overcapacity dries up, then this world will be filled with old and cheap 747 classics ready for a fast cargo conversion, some including a front door.
If it's a question about lifting outsized cargo out of short runways, then there is always the option to take off with almost empty fuel tanks to the nearest real airport for refueling. An old 747 or even a brand new Airbus Beluga will do that much more cost efficient.
For buying such a plane, and make it earn money, there really has to be a very special transport demand, which seems to be unknown today. You can't make money on having a plane for transporting killer whales to Iceland once every fifty years.
Best regards, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
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RE: Possible Commercial C-17

Fri Feb 02, 2001 11:58 am

Isn't there an MD-17, which was a civilian version of the C-17? It is also to my understanding that the C-17 wouldn't be quite applicable to civilian use as mentioned above. Its abilitys to land and take off on extremely short runways are more or less not needed in the civilian world. It would be great for oversized cargo, but is there demand enough for cargo airlines to spend the money for these planes, just for the oversized cargo?
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RE: Possible Commercial C-17

Fri Feb 02, 2001 12:25 pm

I remember seeing models of the MD-17 at Farnborough back in 96, but never heard anything since then. Perhaps there was little customer interest.

Charles, SJ
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RE: Possible Commercial C-17

Fri Feb 02, 2001 12:27 pm

I remember reading on this forum that the decision to see the C-17 depended on the US military guaranteeing some amount of business to whoever buys them over 10 years or so.

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RE: Possible Commercial C-17

Fri Feb 02, 2001 3:46 pm

McDonnell Douglas did indeed build two commercial C-17s, designated MD-17. Nobody bought them, however, and the aircraft were converted to C-17s and delivered to the US Air Force. Now the idea is back again, only this time designated BC-17X.
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RE: Possible Commercial C-17

Sat Feb 03, 2001 12:47 am

Well don't count out the cargo version just yet, I mean FedEx did go after the A380F and that plane is slated to be huge.
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RE: Possible Commercial C-17

Sat Feb 03, 2001 12:54 am

I don't think there is a market for a commercial version of the C-17A. The problem is the plane is built to such a specific need that it won't fit into the need of any large freighter airline I know of.

Also, there is a massive surplus of Il-76 "Candid" freighters, so the need for freighters that can fly into short fields in places like much of African is already met. Many ex-Soviet Il-76's are now flying around the Middle East and Africa.