IL76TD I totally agree, except the safety issue - I agree that the aircraft doesn't have a great reputation but I do maintain if the engineering is done properly and the crew is excellent the risk is probably as small as with any other cargo aircraft.
The reason I say this is the simplicity of the aircraft - there are not allot of systems that can go down, because there simply isn't very many systems. The aircraft (apart from flaps) is totally manual control so hydraulic leakage as far as control surfaces is a non issue. The aircraft also has the capability (I am not sure if other aircraft have the same system or not) in the event of a hydrualic leak or loss of fluid the crew can pump fuel into the system at sufficient pressure to extend the landing gear.
There is no way that would board some AN
-12' or in fact any until i was familiar with the crew, aircraft and their systems (maintence and flight).
You would have to agree that any aircraft is a danger if the maintenance hasn't been properly performed (either through poor workmanship or company being cheapskates).
I have had a mix of about 50/50 Russian military trained and Russian civilian trained crews. I would have to say I am far more impressed with the civilian trained crews over the military. I find that the purely civilian crews are far more capable of thinking outside the normal realms, also I find that since the fall of the Soviet Union many of these crews have flown very little if at all which leaves them a little rusty. Also these days many of the civilian crews have worked in many diverse regions, having exposure to the varied weather conditions especially in the tropics and Africa especially which are far different to the ones experienced at home.
I agree with your MX
mgr it is the poor mans C-130, it isn't as good a performer, in terms of strip performance, uplift or cruise speed but $1000 USD an hour ACMI unless I absolutely needed the strip performance or the greater uplift I would take it any day of the week over the Herc. Personally I have never operated the Herc though correct me if I am wrong but aren't they very maintence intensive (wing root cracking) or similar and some mx intensive systems? In saying that if I needed those capabilities I would get one in a second, and have no trouble flying on one. But personnally I would rather take the cheaper option and make more money.