Airlifters are very interesting to me, especially mega-lifters. But “exotics” are also fun, like tilt-ducted fans, compound helicopters, convertiplanes, flying wings, and much more. I think there’s several reasons why I’ve taken a liking to them, besides some very good sources that I’m eager to review.
- They represent an army marching on its stomach, or in this case, flying on its stomach. They’re the behind-the-scenes things that no one can do without.
- They’re military but not inherently destructive (unless converted to bombers, of course). Thus they can serve humanitarian and civilian support efforts very well.
- Finally, the numbers analyst in me likes seeing, especially for inherently risky airborne drops/landings, what you can accomplish with X number of airlifters with a capacity of Y per unit. Operations researchers with far more resources and far better command of math than me have been studying this since the parachute was invented.
- Plus I live fairly close to an airlifter base and see the big grey Globemasters and Galaxies flying overhead fairly frequently.
- Paradropping can be used as a way to add drama to the characters in a story, regardless of the overall force balance.
- It’s hard not to be impressed by something weird and/or big.
What I’m most interested in at the moment is: “To what extend does having big lifters that can reach the LZ safely remove bottlenecks?”