lostphilosopher 3 months ago

> "Ken Kozlowski, a former C-133 crew chief who served as chief mechanic and flight engineer on a privately owned Cargomaster that flew until 2008. Through monastic devotion to understanding every system on the C-133 and by developing his own maintenance procedures, Kozlowski kept the civilian Cargomaster flying as a bush airplane—and slamming onto remote Alaska gravel runways—nearly 40 years after the Air Force let it go."

My favorite part so far.

EDIT: Adding another interesting bit:

"Was the Cargomaster dangerous? Ten had crashed, and 61 men had been killed. In 1964, the C-133’s accident rate per 100,000 flying hours stood at 2.7, while the C-130’s was 1.9. The overall Air Force rate was 7.7."

7.7 is higher than I would have expected. I wonder what planes are pulling up the numbers? The article makes this plane sound like a mysterious and dangerous machine, but 2.7 is well below 7.7...

  • CapitalistCartr 3 months ago

    Fighter planes. Today, we have few accidents, but during the Cold War, it was common. "F-100 Super Sabre fighter had an average of 21 Class A mishaps per 100,000 hours"

    • mcguire 3 months ago

      https://www.safety.af.mil/Portals/71/documents/Aviation/Airc...

      F-16 Flight Mishap History (1975-2018). Lifetime Class A rate is 3.39. ("Class A Mishap. A mishap resulting in one or more of the following: 1. Direct mishap cost totaling $2,000,000 or more ($1,000,000 for mishaps occurring before FY10). 2. A fatality or permanent total disability. 3. Destruction of a DoD aircraft. NOTE: A destroyed UAV/RPA is not a Class A mishap unless the preceding criteria in “1” or “2” are met.")

      See https://www.safety.af.mil/Divisions/Aviation-Safety-Division... for the whole shebang.

      • lostphilosopher 3 months ago

        Thanks for the link! Haven't gone through all the historical data, but a data point that stood out: F-100 hit 1724.1 in '85. I suppose numbers like that could bring averages up in a hurry.

nerpderp82 3 months ago

> Acquired under a new system of concurrent development and production, an Air Force attempt to limit procurement costs and delays, the C-133 program had no prototype phase; the aircraft had gone from drawing board to production line.

I see this done for software, and some forms of hardware. But for a plane, back then, wow. Seems totally crazy. Or maybe they didn't have prototypes but lots and lots of scale models and wind tunnel testing.

  • benj111 3 months ago

    I suppose it was a time where you had continuous aircraft development since 1939, so designers could have got a good feel for what would work, and what wouldn't.

    I'm not convinced by the idea, but its plausible they could have been.

a3n 3 months ago

> “We had to redesign all the sections of the airplane three times,” Isaacs recalls, “and we had to lighten [the airframe] and get the weight down to accommodate the engines. Consequently, it made the airplane have a bunch of problems. That engine is the downfall of the C-133.”

Immediately reminded me of the current problems and workarounds in the 737 Max 10. The changes and kludges were in part to compensate for its larger engine's effects on the 737's flight characteristics, warped by Boeing's need to not require crew retraining.

knob 3 months ago

That was a fascinating read. Up there with the SR-71 stories.