A400M

I thought meerkatz had assured us para ops were a relic of the past and nobody would do them again because Helicopters and that Para training was just cap badge Mafia.

In which case this must be fake news
That's alright, he was saying the same thing about armour a couple of years ago. It was an outdated relic that would be rendered obsolete by AH right up until the moment it became a vital military capability that the dinosaurs in the British Army should have been keeping modernised all along...
 
I personally think that the A400 will mature into a very useful asset and that in about 10 years time we will be thinking "why didn't we buy more of them?"

I also think that the Herc will go on forever as a low-tech trash hauling asset.

Greg Goebel does an interesting analysis on his "Air Vectors" website:

In response to a query, I got to thinking of exactly how the A400M fits between the C-130 and the C-17. Although comparison of specs is like playing a game of multidimensional apples and oranges, I decided to perform a comparison with a C-130H as a baseline. As it came out, it appears the A400M can handle about twice the load of the C-130H, while the C-17 can handle twice the load of the A400M. That makes the A400M more in the league of the C-130, but it's still larger enough to let me get away with discussing it along with the C-17.

Air Vectors

In terms of speed, a C17 cruises at 500mph, A400M at 485mph and a C130J super-Herc at 400mph. Also, an A400M can travel more or less twice the distance with the same payload as a Herc (C130J) without refuelling.

Given the choice, I'd rather ride in an A400M than a C130J
 
I personally think that the A400 will mature into a very useful asset and that in about 10 years time we will be thinking "why didn't we buy more of them?"

I also think that the Herc will go on forever as a low-tech trash hauling asset.

Greg Goebel does an interesting analysis on his "Air Vectors" website:

In response to a query, I got to thinking of exactly how the A400M fits between the C-130 and the C-17. Although comparison of specs is like playing a game of multidimensional apples and oranges, I decided to perform a comparison with a C-130H as a baseline. As it came out, it appears the A400M can handle about twice the load of the C-130H, while the C-17 can handle twice the load of the A400M. That makes the A400M more in the league of the C-130, but it's still larger enough to let me get away with discussing it along with the C-17.

Air Vectors

In terms of speed, a C17 cruises at 500mph, A400M at 485mph and a C130J super-Herc at 400mph. Also, an A400M can travel more or less twice the distance with the same payload as a Herc (C130J) without refuelling.

Given the choice, I'd rather ride in an A400M than a C130J
EB3F5E8A-4B59-4B2D-9BD4-DDE6CA9E02A8.jpeg
 
I personally think that the A400 will mature into a very useful asset and that in about 10 years time we will be thinking "why didn't we buy more of them?"...
I don’t.

It handles very well at low level but there are fundamental drawbacks in its use in the Tac and SF role due to its size, side-sticks and control laws. Meanwhile, para-door crossovers have still not been resolved while the cabin configuration and heating (which requires the cumbersome ‘thermal curtain’) hinders rapid loading, off-loading, cargo/pax loads and configuration changes.

Those are some of the reasons why nobody’s buying it.

It’ll be fine as a strat asset however if Airbus can improve the availability for customers.

Regards,
MM
 
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Rumour I've heard we're looking at 2023 if significant modifications get funded for simultaneous sticks from the PARA doors.
Given the para door (and RW AAR) issues apparently stem from aerodynamic flow from the enormous props, I fear there would have to be some pretty significant mods (although what I genuinely can’t imagine).

Until then, the ramp will be the only option which I suspect is what the French did in Mali.

Regards,
MM
 
Not being someone who's ever felt the need to jump out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft, I'm under the impression that it's easier to get a fully laden paratrooper out of said perfectly serviceable aircraft via a rear ramp rather than out of the side door. Is that not the case?
 
Not being someone who's ever felt the need to jump out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft, I'm under the impression that it's easier to get a fully laden paratrooper out of said perfectly serviceable aircraft via a rear ramp rather than out of the side door. Is that not the case?
You’ll have to ask a para type.

I suspect that when dropping large numbers, using the side doors assures greater distance between the troops and less chance of collision.

Unfortunately, the A400M’s aerodynamics results in the paras ‘crossing over’ after they’ve jumped and actually increases that danger.

Regards,
MM
 
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Not being someone who's ever felt the need to jump out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft, I'm under the impression that it's easier to get a fully laden paratrooper out of said perfectly serviceable aircraft via a rear ramp rather than out of the side door. Is that not the case?
I am/was a jumper myself, though haven't done recently in a long time. You get a higher rate of exit and more jumpers using (both) the doors. Safety consideration for those inside the plane plays a part as well. If someone gets snagged on a ramp it will hold up the rest as he has nowhere to go, while with the door you can just pull him/her to the side and the rest can continue - plus you still have the other door if there is an issue with one door. The turbulence behind the ac plays a part as well. That's why for Mass Tac doors are preferred (by most), while them black nasty SF colleagues seem to go for the ramp as part of a small group or if you have particularly heavy backpack loads or cargo being dropped which needed to be chased after by the jumpers.

This is from my experience from a good few years ago, so might be complete bollocks now.
 
You’ll have to ask a para type.

I suspect that when dropping large numbers, using the side doors assures greater distance between the troops and less chance of collision.

Unfortunately, the A400M’s aerodynamics results in the paras ‘crossing over’ after they’ve jumped and actually increases that danger.

Regards,
MM
I seem to recall that was an issue with the Js when they entered service** (or at least that was the rumour mill) - for the same reason Prop wash - How was that addressed anyone know?


**Along with its stall caractéristiques meaning it would never be any good as an SF platform, its props are to fragile and other its not rufty tufty K type laments
 
just give the right hand stick three times the length of static line...

One stick’s canopy deploys under the other. Simples!

;-)

(1st arrser to facepalm gets the round in!)
 
just give the right hand stick three times the length of static line...

One stick’s canopy deploys under the other. Simples!

;-)

(1st arrser to facepalm gets the round in!)
7.62mm or 5.56mm
 
I seem to recall that was an issue with the Js when they entered service** (or at least that was the rumour mill) - for the same reason Prop wash - How was that addressed anyone know?


**Along with its stall caractéristiques meaning it would never be any good as an SF platform, its props are to fragile and other its not rufty tufty K type laments
Although I’m not aware of any C-130J prop-wash problems, there were certainly issues with J as we were the lead customer. However, there was also a sizeable K-nav mafia in influential staff jobs who were slagging it off.

Ultimately, whatever it’s initial dramas, the J didn’t need a thermal curtain to stop pax sat in the rear becoming hypothermic and didn’t have an RCS the size of Jupiter!

Regards,
MM
 
I don’t.

It handles very well at low level but there are fundamental drawbacks in its use in the Tac and SF role due to its size, side-sticks and control laws. Meanwhile, para-door crossovers have still not been resolved while the cabin configuration and heating (which requires the cumbersome ‘thermal curtain’) hinders rapid loading, off-loading, cargo/pax loads and configuration changes.

Those are some of the reasons why nobody’s buying it.

It’ll be fine as a strat asset however if Airbus can improve the availability for customers.

Regards,
MM
I've not flown a side stick aircraft but have flown:

Conventional stick
Stick and semicircle wheel
Semicircle wheel and push-pull

Of the three, I massively preferred the conventional stick and absolutely hated the push-pull (well, it was a Cessna).

Most large transport aircraft are moving to side stick so I am not sure why it's a problem. Airbus flight characteristics are programmed into the flight management system and can be changed albeit that Airbus computer bods are a bunch of tossers in my experience.
 
...a large proportion of civilian large transport aircraft are moving to side stick so I am not sure why it's a problem...
Corrected free of charge.

It is very difficult to quickly ascertain exactly what control inputs are being made with a side stick; if a handling pilot is wounded (as happened during Op DEFERENCE in Libya in 2011 when an RAF C-130J co-pilot took a ricochet through his helmet), is the sudden attitude change due to him/her snatching at the stick in shock/pain/reflex or because of damage to the aircraft itself?

...Airbus flight characteristics are programmed into the flight management system and can be changed albeit that Airbus computer bods are a bunch of tossers in my experience.
Added to the above, Airbus control laws have some ‘interesting’ characteristics where opposing side-stick inputs cancel each other out or accumulate. For instance, if one pilot pitches up 10 degrees and the other pitches down 10 degrees, the Airbus will continue to fly straight and level. Similarly, if both pilots roll right 20 degrees, the aircraft will roll 40 degrees right!

These control laws have been cited in several fatal accidents involving airliners. Highest profile amongst these was the loss of Air France 447.

A400M control laws are based on those for the A380 so for normal route flying at medium altitude they will be fine. However, they would be catastrophic at low level, on NVGs while flying down a valley at 250 ft.

Regards,
MM
 
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I'm well aware of the AF 447 control issue as I use it as an example in lectures on Human Factors failure modes.

Your comments on snatching the stick back are interesting. Is it any worse than a conventional stick or just not as visible?

I expect that the majority of military transports will eventially all go to sidestick and fly-by-wire as Boeing are currently doing with their civ jetliners. Embraer are in a JV with Boeing and Airbus have a big stake in Bombardier so I see all next gen larger civ air as sidestick and FBW.
 
...Your comments on snatching the stick back are interesting. Is it any worse than a conventional stick or just not as visible?...
With a conventional yoke or stick, a quick visual check can give an indication of whether a sudden, unexpected attitude change is due to an input or battle-damage. Similarly, there is also ‘feedback’ for the pilot using the opposite seat.

With a side-stick, there are neither visual clues nor physical feedback for the other pilot.

...I expect that the majority of military transports will eventially all go to sidestick and fly-by-wire as Boeing are currently doing with their civ jetliners. Embraer are in a JV with Boeing and Airbus have a big stake in Bombardier so I see all next gen larger civ air as sidestick and FBW.
I must admit that I was not aware Boeing were also going the sidestick route for their airliners. In terms of military transport types, Embraer have gone sidestick with the KC390 as have Xian with the Y-20; perhaps they have built in artificial ‘feel’ or have control laws more suited to military Tac and SF tasks. Equally, Japan (C-2), Ukraine (An-178 ) and Russia (Il-278 ) are sticking with yokes.

Perhaps the production jury is out. But I know quite a few pilots who don’t like Airbus sidestick and especially control laws at low level.

Regards,
MM
 
Having had the joy of working with Airbus 5 years ago, I can well believe that pilots are underwhelmed.
We found them to be totally dominated by the French management and incredibly arrogant.
They also have an extreme "not invented here" issue when it comes to adopting new ideas or changing their kit.
I have read of several problems with Airbus control systems where the "computer says no" against the better judgement of the pilot.
 
With a conventional yoke or stick, a quick visual check can give an indication of whether a sudden, unexpected attitude change is due to an input or battle-damage. Similarly, there is also ‘feedback’ for the pilot using the opposite seat.

With a side-stick, there are neither visual clues nor physical feedback for the other pilot.



I must admit that I was not aware Boeing were also going the sidestick route for their airliners. In terms of military transport types, Embraer have gone sidestick with the KC390 as have Xian with the Y-20; perhaps they have built in artificial ‘feel’ or have control laws more suited to military Tac and SF tasks. Equally, Japan (C-2), Ukraine (An-178 ) and Russia (Il-278 ) are sticking with yokes.

Perhaps the production jury is out. But I know quite a few pilots who don’t like Airbus sidestick and especially control laws at low level.

Regards,
MM
I may have mis-spoken slightly there, Boeing have experimented with side sticks and actually did a 787 cockpit with sidesticks but there are some mixed messages coming out of Seattle about if / when they will move to sidestick.
 

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