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Cargo aircraft

Antonov An-225: the largest cargo aircraft. Lockheed C-5 Galaxy A large military transport aircraft: the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III flight deck bulge]] Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter 'Dreamlifter']] A cargo aircraft (also known as freight aircraft, freighter, airlifter, or cargo jet) is a fixed-wing aircraft designed or converted for the carriage of goods, rather than passengers. They are usually devoid of passenger amenities, and generally feature one or more large doors for the loading and unloading of cargo. Freighters may be operated by civil passenger or cargo airlines, by private individuals or by the armed forces of individual countries. However most air freight is carried in special ULD containers in the cargo holds of passenger aircraft.

Aircraft designed for cargo flight usually have a number of features that distinguish them from conventional passenger aircraft: a "fat" looking fuselage, a high-wing to allow the cargo area to sit near the ground, a large number of wheels to allow it to land at unprepared locations, and a high-mounted tail to allow cargo to be driven directly into and off the aircraft.



Aircraft were put to use carrying cargo in the form of air mail as early as 1911. Although the earliest aircraft were not designed primarily as cargo carriers, by the mid 1920s aircraft manufacturers were designing and building dedicated cargo aircraft.

The earliest "true" cargo aircraft is arguably the World War II German design, the Arado Ar 232. The Ar 232 was intended to supplant the earlier Junkers Ju 52 freighter conversions, but only small numbers were built. Most other forces used freighter versions of airliners in the cargo role as well, most notably the C-47 Skytrain version of the Douglas DC-3, which served with practically every allied nation. Post war Europe also served to play a major role in the development of the modern air cargo and air freight industry during what became known as the "Cold War." It is during the Berlin Airlift at the height of this "Cold War," when a massive mobilization of aircraft was undertaken by the "free world," to supply West Berlin residents with food and supplies, in a virtual around the clock air bridge; after the Soviet Union closed and blockaded Berlin's borders, and land links to the west.

In the years following the war era a number of new custom-built cargo aircraft were introduced, often including some "experimental" features. For instance, the US's C-82 Packet featured a removable cargo area, while the C-123 Provider introduced the now-common upswept tail with a drop-down loading and unloading ramp. But it was the introduction of the turboprop that allowed the class to mature, and even one of its earliest examples, the C-130 Hercules, is still the yardstick against which newer military transport aircraft designs are measured.


Most conversions are carried out on older aircraft no longer suitable for passenger use, often due to changing safety or noise requirements, or when the aircraft type is considered to have become uncompetitive in passenger airline service, but there is also a market for new-build freighter designs. Freighter aircraft normally have strengthened cabin floors and the inclusion of a broad top-hinged door on the port fuselage in addition to an absence of passenger cabin windows which are "plugged."

The Boeing 747 can be ordered in a freighter version with a large nose door which could be raised above the cockpit for loading. The bulged top deck housing the cockpit was originally designed to allow an unobstructed main deck, and to keep cargo from crushing the pilots in the case of an accident. The interior size of the fuselage is matched to the size of a standard shipping container, stacked two high and two wide.

Other types of specialized civilian cargo aircraft configurations, include the swing-tail Canadair CL-44 and Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter, and the clamshell tail CASA CN-235.


Early air mail and airlift logistics aircraft

Type 158 York]] Important "airlift and logistics;" "cargo-liners," "mail-liners," and "mail aircraft."

  • Avro Lancastrian (Transatlantic mail)
  • Avro York (Berlin Airlift)
  • Boeing C-7000
  • Curtiss JN-4
  • Douglas M-2

Civilian cargo/freight aircraft

Airbus A310-304]] Boeing 747-400F]] Il-76TD]] Two MD-11Fs of World Airways Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo A Qatar Cargo 777F

  • Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy
  • Aero Spacelines Super Guppy
  • Aero Spacelines Mini Guppy
  • Airbus A300
  • Airbus A310
  • Airbus A320 (Conversions)
  • Airbus A330
  • Airbus A380F
  • Airbus Beluga
  • Antonov An-124 (the second largest operating cargo aircraft in the world)
  • Antonov An-225 (the largest and heaviest aircraft in the world)
  • Boeing 727
  • Boeing 737 (Conversions)
  • Boeing 757
  • Boeing 767
  • Boeing 747 Freighter
  • Boeing 747-8 Freighter
  • Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter (Dreamlifter)
  • Boeing 777 Freighter
  • Douglas DC-3
  • Douglas DC-8
  • Douglas DC-9
  • Ilyushin Il-76
  • Ilyushin Il-96
  • Lockheed L-100
  • McDonnell Douglas DC-10
  • McDonnell Douglas MD-11
  • Tupolev Tu-204

Light aircraft

  • Cessna Caravan - freight door and belly pod equipped
  • Shorts 330 - drop ramp and twin tailed vertical stabilizer
  • LET 410

Military cargo aircraft

A turboprop twin-engined transport aircraft: the Antonov An-32 See: Military transport aircraft

Experimental cargo aircraft

  • Hughes H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose")
  • Lockheed R6V Constitution
  • LTV XC-142


Aircraft Cargo Volume Cargo Mass Cruise Speed Maximum Range Aircraft Category
Airbus A400M - 37,000 kg (82,000 lbs) 780 km/h (420 kn; 480 mph) 6,390 km (3,450 nm) Military
Airbus 300-600F 115.7 m3 kg ( lbs) km/h ( mph) km (4,000 nm, mi) Commercial
Airbus 330-200F 475 m3 70,000 kg (154,324 lbs) 871 km/h (537 mph) 7,400 km (4,000 nm, 4,600 mi) Commercial
Airbus Beluga 1210 m3 47,000 kg - 4,632 km (2500 nm) Commercial
Antonov 124 - 150,000 kg (330,000 lbs) 800 km/h (430 kn, 490 mph) 5,400 km (2,900 nm, 3,360 mi) Military & Commercial
Antonov 225 1,300 m3 (46,000 cu ft) 250,000 kg (550,000 lbs) 800 km/h (430 kn, 500 mph) 15,400 km (9,570 mi) Commercial
Boeing C-17Globemaster III m3 ( cu ft) 77,519 kg (170,900 lbs) 830 km/h (450 kn, 515 mph) 4,482 km (2,420 nmi, 2,785 mi) Military
Boeing 737-700C 107.6 m3 (3,800 cu ft) 18,200 kg (40,000 lbs) 931 km/h (503 kn, 578 mph) 5,330 km (2,880 nmi) Commercial
Boeing 757-200 Freighter 239 m3 (8,430 cu ft) 39,780 kg (87,700 lbs) 955 km/h (516 kn, 593 mph) 5,834 km (3,150 nmi) Commercial
Boeing 747-8F 854.5 m3 (30,177 cu ft) 134,200 kg (295,800 lbs) 908 km/h (490 kn, 564 mph) 8,288 km (4,475 nmi) Commercial
Boeing 747 LCF 1840 m3 (65,000 cu ft) 83,325kg (183,700lbs) 878 km/h (474 kn) 7,800 km (4,200 nmi) Commercial
Boeing 767-300 Freighter 438.2 m3 (15,469 cu ft) 52,700 kg (116,200 lbs) 850 km/h (461 kn, 530 mph) 6,025 km (3,225 nmi) Commercial
Boeing 777 Freighter 653 m3 (23,051 cu ft) 103,000 kg (230,000 lbs) 896 km/h (484 kn, 557 mph) 9,070 km (4,900 nmi) Commercial
Lockheed C-5 (Galaxy) - 122,470 kg (270,000 lbs) 919 km/h 4,440 km (2,400 nmi; 2,760 mi) Military
Lockheed C-130H (Hercules) - 33,000 kg (72,000 lbs) 540 km/h (292 kn, 336 mph) 3,800 km (2,050 nm, 2,360 mi) Military
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 440 m3 (15,530 cu ft) 91,670 kg (202,100 lbs) 945 km/h ( 520 kn, 587 mph 7,320 km (3,950 nmi; 4,548 mi) Commercial

See also

  • Air transport
  • Airlift (military)
  • Cargo airline


External links

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Source: Wikipedia | The above article is available under the GNU FDL. | Edit this article

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