KELPkid
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Purpose-built Freighters?

Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:47 am

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...
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rwessel
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:09 am

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.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:16 pm



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.
 
rwessel
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:04 pm



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.
 
seattle
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:26 am



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.
 
FX772LRF
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:33 am

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

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474218
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:41 am



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.
 
KELPkid
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:24 am



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
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TSS
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:07 am



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?
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tf39
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:11 am



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.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:31 pm



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.
 
KELPkid
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:38 pm

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.
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:12 pm

Interesting but consider we may fly live cargo on one leg and "normal" cargo on the next. Not uncommon at all.
 
KELPkid
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:59 pm



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?
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Scooter01
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:18 pm



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...
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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Eric Coeckelberghs



Scooter01
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:22 pm



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.
 
TSS
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:33 am

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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9VSIO
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:26 am



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.
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bri2k1
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:28 pm



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.
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bri2k1
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:31 pm

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.
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KELPkid
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:32 pm



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...).
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jetlife2
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:59 pm



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.
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rwessel
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:01 pm



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.
 
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:40 pm



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.
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PPVRA
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:38 pm



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.
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474218
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:10 pm



Quoting AirstairFear (Reply 23):
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.

Horse meat is eaten throughout the world. A quick Google search can provide details. By the way, It's not bad.
 
Gemuser
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:00 am

Both the Bristol Freighter and Armstrong -Withworth Argosy were both designed as joint military/civil freighters.

The Freighter:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © RAScholefield



The Argosy:


View Large View Medium
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Photo © Colin Hunter



Gemuser
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keesje
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:49 pm

. . .
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Stitch
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:48 pm

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 that it extends the production life and RoI of the program.
 
wingscrubber
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:59 pm



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

Not so - apparently quatar airways has bought a couple. This flight global article has a picture of one in their livery, looks awesome  Smile The grey-on-white makes it look kind of like a C-46 Commando to me...

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...econd-c-17-gets-qatar-airways.html
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wingscrubber
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:05 pm

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 as civilian.
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Stitch
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:16 pm

Yes, those are military-spec C-17s.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:47 am



Quoting 474218 (Reply 25):
Quoting AirstairFear (Reply 23):
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.

Horse meat is eaten throughout the world. A quick Google search can provide details. By the way, It's not bad.

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 very significant market. You will very often find horsemeat on menus in France and other countries in Europe. Many people have trouble telling it apart from beef. In fact, some less than honest restaurants have been know to serve horsemeat identified as beef to increase their profit margin.
 
cptspeaking
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:42 am

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 wouldn't be surprised if the C-17 is someday used as a dedicated civilian freight hauler - good range, lots of capacity, real easy loading, modern avionics, and doesn't take up a ton of runway. The only thing working against it is the fact that it's a quad, burning more fuel than a twin would.
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KELPkid
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:32 am



Quoting Cptspeaking (Reply 33):
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 wouldn't be surprised if the C-17 is someday used as a dedicated civilian freight hauler - good range, lots of capacity, real easy loading, modern avionics, and doesn't take up a ton of runway. The only thing working against it is the fact that it's a quad, burning more fuel than a twin would.

Wonder if we'll ever see civilian operators landing them really short on dirt and/or gravel, and then backing up using reverse thrust Big grin
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Starlionblue
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:06 am

Didn't Boeing try to sell the C-17 as a civilian aircraft for a while, and fail?
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Stitch
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:00 pm



Quoting Cptspeaking (Reply 33):
The only thing working against it is the fact that it's a quad, burning more fuel than a twin would.

Well being a military design it's overbuilt and would likely be more maintenance-intensive than a model designed for only the civilian market.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Purpose-built Freighters?

Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:36 pm



Quoting Cptspeaking (Reply 33):
I wouldn't be surprised if the C-17 is someday used as a dedicated civilian freight hauler - good range, lots of capacity, real easy loading, modern avionics, and doesn't take up a ton of runway.

Enourmous maintenance requirements, odd ground service equipment, heavy for its payload capability, small support base, much lower duty cycle...it's not all sunshine and roses.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 35):
Didn't Boeing try to sell the C-17 as a civilian aircraft for a while, and fail?

I think they still do, in some sense..they still show the BC-17 ACAP document:
http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/acaps/bc17-c17a-brochure.pdf

Tom.

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