Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Haulers

Military aviation does more than just kill people and break things. Sure, that's it's main job, but sometimes, you just need to get people or stuff from point A to point B.

For a while, the military liked to use the Beechcraft Model 18. Selfridge has two of them, one an Air Force version known as the C-45 "Expeditor"
The Navy had a version too. It was known as the SNB-5 "Navigator"

Another "off-the-shelf" acquisition was the U-3A "Blue Canoe". This was a military version of the civilian Cessna 310. It was also used for light cargo and personnel transport.

For larger personnel moves, the Air Force used this C-131D "Samaritan".
Sadly they finally retired the model in 1986 due to it's lack of all-weather capability and the inability of the Air Force to acquire any more parts for it's radial engines. "Logistically unsupportable" they called it.And another era ended, as anyone who ever enjoyed the sound of a big radial engine can attest.

But there's still the C-130 "Hercules". Here's an early C-130A. These aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed, were designed as "Air Assault Transports" and intended to fly large loads into undeveloped landing zones.(Read: dirt strips and other improvised fields.") That's why it has a high wing, with engines far off the ground, and short, rugged landing gear.

Here's a shot of the flight deck of the A model.

And this is a later C-130E that replaced the A models at Selfridge.

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