Jan 042018
 

Some months ago I pondered the possibility of launching and landing C-17s’s from aircraft carriers (result: no). But how about corporate jets such as the Gulfstream G650? The takeoff run of the G650 is a bit over a mile, so obviously a standard takeoff run would not be possible. I’m dubious that performance would be improved enough through stripping weight so that the plane could self-launch from the deck of a Nimitz-class carrier. And corporate jets aren’t equipped with either arrester gear nor catapult attachments on a properly strengthened nosegear.

The purpose of my curiosity is a piece of fiction I’ve been noodling around with. The requirement is to be able to fly passengers (as many as possible) to and from an aircraft carrier, non-stop, a distance of at least 3,400 miles, up to 4,700 miles, without inflight refueling. So… how difficult would it be to make the required modifications? Is there a chance in hell that corporate jet landing gear could take the beating a carrier landing would give it? Could such a jet successfully get away with using, repeatedly, the emergency “nets” that aircraft carriers can deploy in the event that the arrester cables don’t work? Can the nose gear be relatively easily modified for the catapult  system, or would it have to be completely replaced, with structural reinforcement to the aircraft structure?

And… how long would this take? Assume that bean counters and red-tape aficionado bureaucrats can be defenestrated if they cause a ruckus. The Skunk Works is given the task to modify X number of corporate jets for this role, told to work day and night, waste anything but time, nobody cares if it’s pretty, if the glue is carcinogenic, if the workplace is properly diverse, and to hell with the union. Is this the sort of thing that could be hacked together in days? Weeks?

This being fiction, I can always cheat. Perhaps the responsible parties have already made these modifications and are just keeping the planes in reserve. That would be easiest, and it would fit the story, but I remain curious about the possibilities of a crash program.

 Posted by at 3:37 pm
  • hughie522

    How about a plush, VIP Grumman C-2? 😛

    • Scottlowther

      Range is about 1,500 miles for a C-2. Nowhere near adequate.

      • hlynkacg

        Put a refueling probe on it, and/or a bunch of aux-tanks in the hold. Fuel doesn’t occupy much room compared to people.

  • Bob

    Back in the 20’s there were plans for floating concrete airports in the middle of the Atlantic to accommodate airliners for refueling and to allow the passengers to rest overnight. When does all this take place?

    • Scottlowther

      Essentially “oh, crap, right now.”

      • Bob

        Maybe you could incorporate the Freedom Ship into the story
        http://freedomship.com/freedom-ship-gallery/#new

        • Scottlowther

          Holy crap, they’re still flackin’ that idea? I thought it’d curled up and died *years* ago.

          Anyway, I *kinda* already did in another, related and as yet unreleased story. Not to the scale of the Freedom Ship, but still, biggish.

  • George

    If the bean counters can be kept at bay, and the Process Police told to take a hike, and the security Nazis told to take all their crap and ram it where the sun don’t shine, one month max for the first one to be modified.

  • Charles P. Kalina

    What about rocket-assisted takeoff? We know it’s possible to launch a modified F-104 with no runway at all. So I would think a modified Gulfstream with a bigger booster could take off in a few hundred feet over the deck. (Anything can fly if you put enough thrust behind it.)

    Somewhat more fanciful: use a blimp to lift the Gulfstream off the deck, high enough so that it can be released into a dive and level off into regular flight. Since the blimp is non-rigid it can be deflated and stowed on the carrier when not in use, although it might be more economical to make it expendable. With a smaller corporate jet, we might be able to use a heavy-lift helicopter (some modern-day version of the CH-54) instead of a blimp.

    • Scottlowther

      >we might be able to use a heavy-lift helicopter

      Sadly, no available helicopter comes close to being able to lift a loaded corporate jet (handwave 80 to 100,000 pounds… a CH53 can horse about 8,000 pounds into the air).

      • Charles P. Kalina

        Sorry, I was thinking of general aviation bizjets. Some are small enough that an S-64 could lift them. For that matter, an S-64 could also hook onto them in flight and lower them (relatively) gently onto the deck. We want something that can be fielded ASAP, and this system has the advantage that it doesn’t require new aircraft or much new hardware. We’re just using existing aircraft in new (and probably wildly unsafe) ways.

        Problem is that we want four capabilities: STOL, jet propulsion, very long range, and significant payload. We can cram two, maybe three of these into one airframe. I can’t imagine getting all four, at least not in something that can be fielded ASAP.

        We know that a C-130 can do carrier take-off and landing with minimal modification, so maybe something similar could be done with a general aviation jet designed for short/rough field operations. I know the Soviets had some aircraft like that, but I don’t know if there are current western ones that fit the bill.

        • Scottlowther

          The problem with the S-64/CH-54: there aren’t that many and none of them are in carrier use. Might find a CH-53 on a carrier, but not a CH-54. You’d have to transport *that* 4,000 miles by air. A bit beyond ferry range, I think.

          • Charles P. Kalina

            Maybe I misunderstood the scenario. I thought this was going to be some future capability, so we’d have time to modify the aircraft, test the required maneuvers, and place the helicopter (or blimp) on the carrier before it deployed or the next time it was near shore.

            What I gather is that we’re actually talking about a scenario in which, with no advanced warning or preparation, we have to transport ten thousand people to/from an aircraft carrier using an existing passenger jet type (albeit with whatever modifications we can kludge together within an “oh crap right now” time frame).

            Not to be defeatist, but I think the answer is it can’t be done.

          • Scottlowther

            > Not to be defeatist

            “Defeatism” is actually inheirent in the scenario I’m writing about (you can probably figure it out if you read enough of my blog…). Billions already dead, billions more gonna die. Rescuing ten thousand from a far away impossible situation is on the one hand a waste of resources; on the other hand every life would matter and it’d be a hell of a morale boost.

  • B-Sabre

    BAE 146. There was a proposed carrier onboard delivery version.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Aerospace_146

    • Scottlowther

      Range is only about 2,000 miles.

      • B-Sabre

        If you’re already modifying for a carrier landing, how hard is it to add an air-refueling probe? And there are private contractors that provide air refueling services.

        Catapults don’t have to rely on a nose-wheel mounted bar. Older aircraft used to use a “bridle” – a steel cable that ran from hard points on the airframe to the catapult shuttle. That might be an option for a quick and dirty carrier conversion.

        https://goo.gl/images/AK95Kw

        As to airframe stresses a big part of the design criteria is lifetime usage – if you’re willling to accept only 5 years of usage why not use a commercial platform?

        • Scottlowther

          > add an air-refueling probe?

          In-flight refueling is not an option. The plane needs to go 4,000 miles on its own.

          > Older aircraft used to use a “bridle”

          I’d thought about something like that. probably easier than modifying the landing gear.

          > only 5 years of usage

          Won’t be in use that long. They’ll get beat to hell for a few months, perhaps, then that’ll be that. Won’t matter beyond that point.

  • Tango_Charlie

    B-sabre notes the BAe 146, what he doesn’t mention is that there were DC-9 (As C-9 under the standard designation scheme) and Fokker F28 Carrier Onboard Delivery proposals for the USN. Problem is going to be max weight, but it’s solvable.

    • Scottlowther

      I like the DC-9 and F28, but the problem is both timeframe and range. Gotta go from “oh crap” to “in the air” ASAP. Modifying old jetliners seems like it might be more troublesome than modifying new corporate jets, especially given that both of those old jet have only about a third the needed range in standard condition.

  • MzUnGu

    On a wave-less day, lightly loaded, the landing gear might make the landing. I suppose you can look at the landing gear difference between F-17 and F-18 to see what need to be strengthen.

  • MzUnGu

    Oh, yaeh, Might want to have the carrier remove the cables during landing. remembering from school days, them cables adds to landing load when you roll over or land on them.

  • Siergen

    When you did your takeoff & landing calculations, did you take into account the carrier cruising at over 35 miles an hour into a stiff headwind?

  • Pantagruel

    Does the aircraft have to land, or do you only need people in and out? If not, you can always send them out by C17 and parachute. Going back, perhaps a Skyhook https://youtu.be/UsTIeZ03Hk8 or glider snatch https://youtu.be/UsTIeZ03Hk8.

    If there was enough time, you might be able to build a “glider” with only high speed aero surfaces that can be towed and flown into the ramp hatch of a c17. Couple dozen seats.

    Seems easier and faster than modifying a biz jet, but awfully sporting.

    • Scottlowther

      By not landing at the carrier, that means the aircraft would need about *8,000* miles of unrefueled range. A little tough to pull that off, especially when you’re trying to pick up ten thousand people…

      • Pantagruel

        If you are trying to evacuate 10,000 people off a aircraft carrier in the middle of nowhere, then maybe the fastest is to send another aircraft carrier.

        • Scottlowther

          Sadly, under the scenario in question that’s not an option. Sea travel is impossible, only air.

      • Pantagruel

        If you can fly at all, why not air refueling? Or is it flying Kaiju?

        • Scottlowther

          There is the land base, and there is the aircraft carrier. You could base a tanker plane at the land base to help you reach the carrier… but once at the carrier, you need to get back, but *this* time with as much of a load as you can carry. The harder leg of the journey is from the carrier to the land base, where you are carrying more and there’s less fuel to be had… they don’t have the fuel to fly tanker A-6’s or F-18’s or whatever. Yer on yer own flying home.

          Of course if you can fly from the carrier to the home base carrying X thousand pounds of people, you can carry X thousand pounds of fuel from shore to carrier. But it would still be scrimping on every pound of the stuff, especially since you’ll probably need to carry stuff other than fuel… meds and food and whatnot.

          • Pantagruel

            http://www.theaviationzone.com/factsheets/c130_specs.asp

            C-130 has about 2000 mile range fully loaded, 4500 empty. If i am guesstimating correctly, a KC-135 can carry a C-130 load of fuel (60000 lb) out about 3000 miles and return empty. So, full cargo, top off from tanker at 2000 mile from land and again at 3000, land on carrier. Load 100 people in their underwear, partial fuel load, and fly back to tanker at 3000 from land, then land on fumes.

            I’m sure better can be done by optimizing ranges, or tricks involving refuelling tankers, but generally 1 c130 and 2 kc135, with 3 airborne refuelings. AF does much sillier things ever day, and the only new engineering needed is what it takes to land and take off the C130.

          • Nh_flier

            Carrier based tankers aren’t useful at all in this situation. They can’t give enough fuel to matter. It’d take a lot of F-18 sorties to put 4,000 miles of fuel into anything.

  • se jones

    Two words pal: Credible Sport

    The Bombardier Global 6000 would be a good choice because of the considerable engineering design already done for the JSTARS proposal. You could kill two birds with one stone by Incorporating the rockets together with extra fuel tanks into the external radar sponsons designed for the a/c.

    I’ve done a lot of work over the years mounting exotic MET equipment on the NSF/UCAR fleet over at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport’s EOL. I can tell you, while not as tough as an F-18, modern business jets are very rugged airplanes, evidence for that is…I ain’t dead yet.

    I would characterize your scheme as extremely risky, but not impossible. Press on.

    https://youtu.be/WKCl3lfAx1Q?t=54s

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f9385d7308a379e569e80d440e2b1d9c5fad51ad047329acda094c15632862d8.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6e9018858c44d8b79442323b51e424063f1892a3a167fdd1a737db65012de412.jpg

  • se jones

    Oh, be sure to add a simple squat switch so your pilots don’t light the retro rockets while still airborne.

    Eye roll only during the Peanut Farmer era.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fd108ca463d0a7c9e6a5ec3073ebf83e325ebdaa722e166ad85dcbd6854f4f7a.jpg

    • Nh_flier

      Except that wasn’t for a carrier landing, but to get the Herc down in a soccer field.
      (In the rest of the world, I’d suggest they just land one in the parking lot.)

      • se jones

        “Except that wasn’t for a carrier landing, but to get the Herc down in a soccer field”

        So Captain Obvious, you got any more brilliant observations?

        • Nh_flier

          That’s Major Obvious, to you, bub!
          OK – how’s this: A C-130H with 100 people on board and full fuel can make a bit over 4000 miles with full fuel. (A J model would do better)
          I can land and take off from a Nimitz class ship or better.
          Now, hauling 100 people per flight(People are relatively light), it’ll take 100 round trips to haul 10,000 people. Each stage will take (Assuming zero winds) 12 hours of flight time. Given a 50 hour turnaround, you can do it cycling 50 C-130s in a bit over 4 days, assuming you run it like the Berlin Airlift. That’s a carrier landing and launch every 15 minutes. You probably want longer.

          The AC-130s are capable of boom refueling, so you can fit slipways to the Hs and refuel them from KC-135s or KC-46s if necessary.
          Now – each flight leg is going to burn ’bout 10,000 US Gallons of fuel. (65,000#) so the carrier is going to need to be able to supply 2,000,000 gallons of JP-5 or JP-8. Now, I’m not a Nasal Radiator, but my references give the aviation fuel bunkerage on a US Supercarrier to be about 3,000,000 gallons.

          So – I can be done with stuff you’ve got lying around, no or minimal modifications to the aircraft, no time lost training crews, and could conceivably be done without having a Magic Jet Fuel Well on the boat.
          With a hurry up familiarization and CLPs, overall time would probably be 2 weeks from a dead stop.

          • se jones

            Well Captain Obvious sir…RTFD, Scott specifically called for a business jet NOT a C-130 or C-17.

            We clear Ramjet?

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c8f1659a0da4cdcfdb3068ff2e7e0f62516245fe37d790ab4f4ffd3e7d33a591.jpg

          • Nh_flier

            Actually, further up, replying to Mr. McDerp, he says the plane can be anything.

            So – what’ the goal? Move 10,000 people 8,000+ miles ASAP with a CVN at midpoint as a staging base?

            Or start an effort to put a Gulfstream or Challenger on a Carrier, no matter how long it take?

          • Scottlowther

            Not to get into the middle of a pissing match, but in the terms of the story, someone might be able to spare a C-130… but probably only *a* C-130. The larger situation is such that every available C-130 is needed *everywhere.* Things have gone quite badly on a rather wide scale. But corporate jets are less useful for the larger emergency, so they should be more available for this particular situation. One Gulfstream might be able to carry only ten people to a C-130’s 100, but it can not only cycle faster due to flying several times faster, there should be more of them available for this mission.

            Plus… beyond the story, a C-130 landing on an aircraft carrier would be at best a stunt these days, while a corporate jet modified appropriately and put into the service by the US Navy just might gain some sort of meaningful COD role.

          • Nh_flier

            OK – well, there are about 200 – 300 civilian L-100s (C-130s with a more attractive paint job.), doing everything from hauling freight in the Arctic and Africa to dropping retardant on fires. They’re all built to the same specs, but don’t necessarily have the military 463L cargo handling gear. If they could be spared for people moving…

          • se jones

            Corporate Jets off Aircraft Carriers – – – Skunk Works is given the task to modify X number of corporate jets for this role

            So I naturally assumed…

            Sigh…management -it’s always the same.

          • Nh_flier

            Yah, tell me about it. I was once handed a requirement for a Navy Project that specified updating firmware and hardware on all surface ships, extra communication requirements, and would have taken more than 2 years to roll out. (’cause the ships are busy doeing warship things).

            I looked at what they were trying to do, and came up with a 4 line software modification that accomplished the same thing and could be rolled out remotely to the ships.
            No, they didn’t let me keep the money I saved.

          • Scottlowther

            > what’ the goal? Move 10,000 people 8,000+ miles ASAP with a CVN at midpoint as a staging base?

            You have circa 10K people on or around an aircraft carrier, immobilized at sea circa 4000 miles from the nearest land base. Ship ain’t comin’ back. No ships are going to get there. If you want those people back, ya gotta fly out to get them. You are limited by the ability of the carrier and a few other ships to maintain the population… probably a good long time, especially if every passenger flight carries supplies.

  • allen

    instead of landing ON the carrier..how about landing next to it? or would a herc be too slow? floats that size, while not made every day, are a known technology. brute-forcing it to save time wouldn’t be that hard to do.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fde7c91d1049254db065043b2192c18c9daf835ddbc02f83340f13004dfeffa9.jpg

    modifying a corporate jet on short notice is possible I suppose..but the new landing gear would probably have to be fixed. a tailhook might not be easy. modifying for multiple uses of the arrestor net might work.. just patch extra metal over the parts that would likely contact the net like the wing roots, and be ready to throw some more sheetmetal over any other parts that get gouged.. this aircraft is short-term-use disposable, right?

    takeoff would be a problem..but if you’re coming in heavy and leaving light, with a good headwind, I suppose it’s possible. if you weren’t worried about the extended life of your engines you could run them past normal power settings. I wonder if a bolt-on afterburner is possible?

    • Nh_flier

      Well, if you’re going that route, just take a bog-standard C-130 and, well, land it on the carrier.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ar-poc38C84

      • allen

        that took an above-average pilot and a fully cleared carrier deck. both may not be possible. slapping floats on a herc you’d be able to evacuate people to ANY ship at sea.

        • Scottlowther

          Under the circumstances, a cleared deck is possible. I would *assume* that with modern avionics and control systems it should be easier for a Herc to land on a carrier deck now than fifty years ago. But the problem remains of landing a Herc on a carrier *4,000* miles away.

          • allen

            people don’t weigh nearly what the cargo limit of a herc is. plumb the hell out of it. big ass drop tank fixed above the fuselage. 4 tanks under the wings. raise the floor under the jump seats and put in more gas.

            it can be done.

          • Nh_flier

            Slide a U.S. Army flexible fuel blivet into the forward end of the cargo hold, and plumb it in. You don’t need to get exotic. A 500 gallon tank would give you an extra 3750 lbs of fuel, allowing a full load of people and the extra fuel.

          • hlynkacg

            Is the carrier able to provide fuel? If so, your standard late model C-130 has a ferry range of approx. 3,200 miles which can be bumped up over 4,000 if you use a KC-130 or one equipped with aux-tanks.

            In the mean time, depending on where in the world you are you might be able to recruit allies. At first glance it looks like both the Kawasaki C-2 (no relation to the greyhound) and Airbus A-400 might be up to the task. Someone get on the phone with the JSDF and/or NATO.

          • Scottlowther

            FYI, in the story the Japanese are not capable of providing any assistance at this point. It’s unclear if there are any left, in fact.

          • hlynkacg

            Fair enough.

            If we’re limited to the US/Anglosphere I still think a C-130 is your best bet. They’ve already demonstrated the ability to land and take-off from carriers smaller than a Nimitz/Ford and rigging some fuel tanks in the hold to get an extra 500 – 1000 miles of range seems like it would be both easier and safer than trying to modify a biz-jet or small airliner for carrier operations.

            Heck, if we allow aerial-refueling the mission can be completed using equipment that’s already in the inventory. C-130 and a tanker depart for the carrier together. As they approach the half-way point the tanker tops off the C-130’s tanks and turns for home. While the C-130 is on the carrier loading up, the tanker will back at base refueling. Both launch around the same time and rendezvous near the half-way point. The tanker refuels the C-130 again and they return home together. Repeat this process as many times (or with as many tanker/C-130 pairs) is necessary to complete the evacuation.

            Edit: Spelling

          • Nh_flier

            According to the manual (and the SAC Charts), a C-130E or H with maximum fuel will do 4100 NM full fuel carrying 20.000lbs of cargo.
            That still gives you 30 minutes + 200 NM of reserves on arrival.
            People aren’t that dense. (physically) For ease of calculation, figure 100 people at an average weight of 160 lbs.

          • Nh_flier

            For a one way trip, they can do it. If extra time/warm fuzzies are available, fitting the universal slipways salvaged from the C-141Bs at AMARC could be whipped up.

        • Nh_flier

          Actually, it’s within the capabilities of a FMQ (Fully Mission Qualified) C-130 driver with a bit of practice in assult landings. (Even easier, in fact, to quite Dos Gringos, from “I Want to Take Off From a Carrier” – It’s not about the landing, why should I care. You’ve never got a crosswind and you never have to flare.”
          We’ve got lots of qualified C-130 pilots. There are, of course, no C-130 floatplane drivers. It’s not a simple transition – there’s a reason why seaplane ratings are different. (I don’t have one, my father does)
          Also – open sea landing in _anything_ are extremely dangerous, and the expectation is that you’ll damage the airplane to some degree.

          • allen

            right, but in the “mass evacuation scenario” how many hercs can you get on the deck at a time? one? sure, you could unload quick, but would it be quick enough? what do the other hercs do while they’re waiting for you to take off again? they’re already low on gas, due to the extreme range, and you want them to circle? pray no one has any mechanical issues that take longer than 30 seconds to fix…otherwise, over the side it goes.

            a seaplane doesn’t have those problems. as long as the sea is calm enough, land as many as you like and you’re only limited by the number of boats you have on hand to unload them. the navy has a lot of boats.

            would they have to figure out how to fly the new float-equipped hercs? sure. but this is an emergency, a lot of that can get tossed out the window. find a guy who is float-certified and put him next to the herc pilot for a few touch-and-goes and call it “emergency certification”

          • Nh_flier

            The answer is One. Which is a gating factor in dispatching. You don’t send the airplanes all at once – you space them out so that just after one departs the ship, another arrives. Maybe every 3 or 4 arrivals (My range numbers include a 30 minute +5% reserve, you leave enough of a gap for an airplane that missed its approach to cycle in.
            (That’s what the Berlin Airlift Rules are about. Access to Berlin over East Germany was via 3 restricted corridors. There wasn’t any space for holding patterns. The C-54s were dispatched up the entry corridors at 10 minute intervals. If they missed the approach, they exited through the exit corridor, and were re-inserted into the incoming stream.)
            If an airplane breaks on the deck, you can’t pull it over and fix it, you’ll have to shove it over the side.

  • Nh_flier

    For the Bizjet solution (especially for the Need it Fast situation, there’s really only one choice – the North American / Rockwell Sabreliner / T-39. It’s got the strength already built in – it’s Utility Category certificated, and is, actually quite aerobatic (And was used as a systems trainer for the low level Nav systems on the F-105) but it’s small (You get 9 or 12 people, including the crew.
    You also don’t get the range.
    But… There are / have been Commercial AIr Refueling contractors. Maybe one could dig the Navy’s Convair 880 drogue tanker out of mothballs (If you postulate that it’s not already beer cans) and it’s be a fairly simple task to scab on an F-100’s probe on the Sabreliner. (It’s already got Single Point Refueling.
    Or you can take the old Martin Caiden approach. Lots of smaller air forces contract their heavy maintenance out to civilian shops. Find one with a tanker in for an overhaul and pass them money until they say “Oh, yeah, here are the keys. Fillit up when you’re done.”

  • Barmaglot

    4700 miles is a lot of range to cover without mid-air refueling, a C-17 doesn’t even come close to that… I think your only realistic option is a large flying boat – too bad Saunders-Roe Princess never reached service.

  • Herp McDerp

    The purpose of my curiosity is a piece of fiction I’ve been noodling around with. The requirement is to be able to fly passengers (as many as possible) to and from an aircraft carrier, non-stop, a distance of at least 3,400 miles, up to 4,700 miles, without inflight refueling.

    Questions:

    * What’s the time interval between flying people out to the carrier and then flying them from the carrier to somewhere else? Is the exodus from the carrier as urgent as the relocation to the carrier?

    * Does the aircraft carrier have sufficient fuel to refuel the jets for the trips back?

    * Can the aircraft be Russian? I’m thinking of an ekranoplan like the Caspian Sea Monster”. (This might be your best bet, unless you need to fly at significant altitude for some reason.)

    * For that matter can you think of any way to use the An-225 or NASA’s shuttle-ferry Boeing 747s, perhaps to carry a big droppable, floatable fuel tank to the carrier?

    * Do you have to use the same aircraft for both trips with passengers, to and from the carrier?

    * How about the Scaled Composites White Knight Two carrying a single-use passenger pod, and dropping the passenger pod for a water landing using parachutes or a parafoil? (Does the White Knight Two have the range? How many disposable passenger pods would you need? How do you get people off the carrier? I dunno!)

    * Can you put floats on a heavy lifter, fly it fully loaded with passengers to a water landing next to the aircraft carrier, and refuel the heavy lifter for takeoff by transferring fuel to it from the carrier via hoses?

    * If “heavy lifter with floats and hoses” works, can you set up a floating refueling station at the halfway point?

    * Is there anything limiting or peculiar about the departure point or the ultimate destination of the passengers?

    * If surface ships are out, can you transfer the people using submarines?

    • Scottlowther

      1: Everyone more or less starts off on the carrier.
      2: I’m assuming that fuel can be had for the return flights.
      3: Plan can be *anything,* though for this purpose an Ekranoplan might fly too low.
      4: If an AN225/747/whatever can fly *8,000* miles, half of which with a substantial payload. Unless it’s a one-way flight, with a ditching next tot he carrier. Seems unwise.
      5: No real passenger flights *to* the carrier. It’s an evac.
      6: I don’t imagine WK2 has any sort of range at all.
      7: A float-equipped Herc has been suggested by other commenters, based on actual floatyherc proposals. But again it’s a matter of range. I suppose those floats can be filled with fuel…
      8: No floating *anything* apart from the carrier and immediate environs.
      9. Not really, other than the airports will necessarily not be coastal.
      10: Sure. Then they’ll all die underwater far out in the ocean, rather than on the surface.

      Without giving away much, the oceans in this tale are no good place to be.

      • Herp McDerp

        Ah. Based on a couple of your previous posts, I think I might know what’s going on …

      • Paul451

        8: No floating *anything* apart from the carrier and immediate environs.

        So an Ice-9 scenario? Oceans already mostly frozen, coastal cities dead. Deep freeze creeping inland for the last couple of billion.

        With the aircraft carrier’s commander (or chief nuclear technician) thinking to dump reactor heat (more than usual) overboard to keep a bubble of liquid water around the ship? Making it the only destination for a large group of key survivors from as yet unfrozen inland US.

        Or is it just ocean-going Kaiju?

        • Scottlowther

          > Ice-9 scenario … ocean-going Kaiju

          One of these is a pretty fair guess.

          • Robbie

            “Ice-9 scenario … ocean-going Kaiju

            One of these is a pretty fair guess.”

            You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.

  • Thucydides_of_Athens

    Without putting too fine a point on it, the USN already had a cargo aircraft to take things to and from carriers: the Grumman C-2 Greyhound. While not very exotic, this is a pretty good and very utilitarian transport airplane with most of the features you are looking for (except speed, it is a turboprop transport after all). With 24 cubic metres of internal volume, you can cram a lot of people and “Stuff” into the plane.

    Frankly, the idea of replacing them with V-22’s was a bit daft (OK, a lot daft). The V-22 may be a fine airplane, but for mundane cargo missions it is a bot of overkill, not to mention has less internal volume than the C-2.

    At any rate, these are the primary means of delivering cargo by air to carriers. Large helicopters flown by the Marines, like Sea Stallions, could also be considered, although they are much slower and shorter ranged.

    • Nh_flier

      Minor nits – the internal volume of a V-22 isn’t actually all that much different than a C-2. A C-2 isn’t as big as you might think looking at pictures. A V-22 can also land on a carrier with a much heavier cargo load. a C-2 is limited to about 9,000# freight + the weight of the restraining cage for arrested landings. a V-22 can land with 20,000# on board.
      Range on a V-22 is shorter, but a V-22 can be set up for AAR, and a C-2 can’t.
      (Also, C-2’s are prohibited from doing night traps.)

      • Thucydides_of_Athens

        Thanks. The information I have isn’t very detailed, and looks are deceptive, the C-2 seems much larger than a V-22.

  • Herp McDerp

    Is there any chance your story could be set in an alternate history in which the Aereon Dynairship was funded and became a commercial success?

    • Scottlowther

      Nope. This is meant to be recognizably “our” world… until things go a little funny.

  • Paul451

    Scott, do you know if the fuel on the carrier (JP-5) is compatible with Jet-A burning bizjets anyway?

    • Nh_flier

      Since JP-5 is considered the equivalent to commercial JET-A, yes.
      Actually, the jets aren’t that fussy. You’ll generally be ably to burn JP-4, JP-5. JP-8 and AVGAS without too much trouble. (Although you usually have to add some oil to the AVGAS, since the fuel is used to lubricate the pumps and such). The Navy doesn’t like striking airplanes with JP-4 into the hangar deck, since it’s more volatile than JP-5, but I don’t think it’s an issue here.

    • Scottlowther

      Shouldn’t be a problem, I think. They are not fundamentally different fuels (both are basically kerosene), and turbine engines are renowned for running on any liquid that can be pumped through them that will burn. IIRC, the Army tested the turbine engine for the M-1 Abrams by feeding the same engine jet fuel, alcohol, petroleum and warmed-up wax.

      • Pantagruel

        Actually, the army uses exactly the same fuel in all its vehicles, tank, helicopter, or truck. Saves a lot of time, money, and lives to have only one fuel chain.

        • admin

          Iirc, the idea wasn’t to fuel the M-1 with just whatever on a regular basis, but to prove that the turbine engine was sufficiently capable so that they *could* fuel it with whatever was available when the Soviets invade Europe.

        • Scottlowther

          IIRC, the idea wasn’t to regularly fuel the M-1 with whatever, but to demonstrate that when the Soviets storm into western Europe the M-1 would be able to run on whatever flammable fluid the crews might happen to have at hand. Which is a handy ability in wartime.

  • Nick Gaston

    Well, I haven’t had the chance to test out a 727 or a 737 in my flight sim—both of which had at least preliminary COD variant proposals; plus, the 737 has at least one company offering an extended range auxiliary tank setup that would push the range to over 5000 NM, and the 727 IIRC not only has had various mods available over the decades that would do the same, but some 727-200s, delivered to Mexicana, actually had a JATO option built in—but, sadly, I have to report that, even with 900 gallons additional fuel, a Basler BT-67 (a turboprop DC-3 conversion), assuming all the figures are correct, doesn’t seem to be able to crack more than about the 3200 mile range mark.

    A pity, too, as it has delightful STOL characteristics—heck, even the old R4D was able to make a takeoff from an Essex class carrier back in the day, albeit with a JATO.

    Fiddling around with loadouts, throttle settings, mixtures, flight altitude and weather conditions might help more, in this case, but I’m probably not going to have the time (or expertise) to figure it out, myself. 🙁