Logistics: New Aircraft Cargo Loading Technology


June 19, 2023: Currently, cargo aircraft lacking a cargo ramp in the rear must use a fork-lift or K-loader to get cargo onto or off the aircraft. The K-loader is a hydraulically operated cargo lift that is more flexible than a forklift. K-Loaders can lift cargo pallets holding up to twelve tons of cargo at a time, making it possible to quickly load or unload cargo containers. Many airports the nearly 400 U.S. Air Force KC-135 aerial refueling tankers often land at lack fork-lifts or K-loaders to handle loading or unloading cargo from KC-135s. These aircraft can carry a full load of fuel for refueling other aircraft, in addition to 37 tons of cargo on six pallets or 57 passengers in unused space inside the aircraft. To deal with this problem the air force developed the PATR (Pack and Transport Reloader) crane. PATR is installed inside the cargo area, next to the side cargo door. This capability greatly increases the KC-135 ability to transport cargo as well as a full load of fuel for aerial transfer to other aircraft.




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