1. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Aircraft and bad weather

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Lifeline, Aug 12, 2016.

    I am pondering whether it would be preferable to have helicopters or airplanes in regions of perpetually disturbed weather (frequent storms, high-velocity winds).

    What's your opinion? And why?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on the purpose of the aircraft. If we're talking search-and-rescue, which would probably be a common scenario in bad-weather areas, then helicopters are a must, whether or not they're the safest.
     
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  3. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I have to move a whole lot of equipment (I am talking tons) and men. Also the terrain is pretty rugged, so the last leg would probably have to be done by helicopters in any case. But before that? When the terrain is more or less flat, but stormy? I have a world with a higher axial tilt, and that means frequent - and I mean almost daily - storms.
     
  4. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    General rule; the bigger the bird, the more wind it takes to move it. So, a C17 Globemaster at 585,000 lbs will take a lot more to shift it than a Chinook at 50,000lbs.
     
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  5. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Does anyone know how big an aircraft have to be to be detectable by OTH radar? Or does it depend on the specific beam-design?
     
  6. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    it really depends on the radar and whether its airborne or GCI , also it depends on the speed the plane is moving at, how low it is, and a muliplicity of other factors like stealth

    assuming your plane isn't a stealth fighter the best way to avoid detection to turn your transponder (IFF , sometimes known as the parrot) off so the radar has to actually find you from reflected waves, (known as getting a skin paint) nd then to stay as low as possible so that your return is lost in the ground return - that is the radar being scattered back by trees, hillsides etc.

    you can also acheive "terrain masking" by keeping a big hill or similar between you and the transmitter - this works better against GCI than it does against planes where the radar is looking down

    against a down looking radar your best bet is to follow a railway line and fly as slow as possible so that the radar operator mistakes your blip for a train
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
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  7. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks moose, that's really good information to follow up! Apparently I have to learn to think sideways :D
     
  8. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    there are some good pilot forums around for research ... i'd stress that I am not a pilot, I've just read a lot of books by people who are (and one of my mates from college flies Apaches)

    another option is to be extremely quick - if you are too fast to intercept then it doesnt matter if the enemy see you on radar (that was the basic premise of the SR71 Blackbird spy plane , the russians could see exactly where it was, but by the time they'd scrambled interceptors it had gone)
     
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  9. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Thank all the heavens that I don't have a pilot as major character - yet. But who can say down the line? ;)

    This is background information, I am planning two countries who are at odds due to the geography on their world and I need to make up a believable defense system for one, as well as figuring out what each of them would be able to monitor.
     
  10. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Naval Flight Officer (NFO, backender mission guy, not a pilot) but as veteran of many storms here is a snapshot
    1. violent updrafts/downdrafts at altitude
    2. hail and icing (even in the summer). Most aircraft have heating/mechanical ice removal but a passenger liner recently crashed when its pitot tube (airspeed sensor) iced over and the pilots inadvertently stalled it. Hail can come out of the top of a thunderstorm anvil and come down miles away in clear weather at altitude.
    3. lightning strikes. Generally not destructive but very alarming sound and light display, and may damage electronics.

    rule of thumb to penetrate a storm is at right angles to the line of clouds, shortest distance of penetration.

    Landing, the big risk is windshear, where the wind vertical velocity changes abruptly. Since the aircraft is heavy and does not respond instantaneously it can stall or pick up too high a sink rate near the ground.

    The other one is crosswind. Most aircraft counter crosswind by dropping the upwind wing and applying top rudder to keep it from turning into the wind, essentially landing on the upwind landing gear first, then dropping the downwind wheel. All aircraft have crosswind limits but a sudden gust can put you out of limits. And an engine loss at the critical juncture in a multi-engine aircraft can get dicey... the aircraft will want to yaw into the dead engine, and if that is cross threaded with the cross wind correction... aw shit! potential skidded turn stall.
     
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  11. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    that's really going to depend on how technologically advanced they each are - there is lots of stuff in the public domain about planning air defence networks, both from the USAF/RAF and from the old PYO Strany.. Theres also some interesting stuff about WW2 when air defence was in ints infancy and radar was a sometime thing

    In essence the main thing for the defender being not just that radar can see incoming aircraft but that either AAA/ SAM batteries or interceptor aircraft or both can respond when radar sees them, that tends to mean either airborne radar or GCI sites on hill tops to give as early warning as possible and a combat air patrol (CAP) of fighters in attendance to engage threats as soon as they are identified rather than fighters having to be scrambled

    For the aggressor its about not being seen and or taking out the air defences, whether that's bombing AAA batteries or the more technologically advanced missiles that can home on radar beams to take out GCI sites, plus of course your own agressor fighters to protect your bombers and shoot down the defenders CAP
     
  12. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Lets start this response *crack knuckles*

    Lew, thank you for an overview of the possible issues an airplane might (will) encounter. I figure, an airplane wouldn't be very practical then - as well as meaning that an industry of commercial flights wouldn't evolve; much too dangerous for the average holiday-maker. Do I figure this right?
    I have a friend who flies helicopters, so I am waiting on his response concerning feasibility of using helicopters, and which modifications would make sense with regard to using them as transports.

    Moose: Thanks! Good points, all. I hadn't yet thought beyond radar-issues, but SAM is definitely in the cards for my guys. I have to read up. Story of my life now *sigh*. But I have a little time yet, these issues will come up in about 50k or so :)
     
  13. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    on the fixed wing vs heliflopter question you could always use something like the V22 osprey, which is essentially both ... its used by the US Marine Corps (and others) to move troops about ,
     
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  14. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Remember, however complex you found my post, that basically a fixed wing airplane wants to fly, and left alone, will generally do so barring major failures or mistakes by the pilot. Helicopters are kept in the air solely by sheer force of will and total attention by the pilot. Your friend will attest to this.

    Helicopters have limited lift capacity and altitude
     
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  15. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    they don't really fly, they just vibrate so badly the earth rejects them :D
     
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  16. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Hey.. did I WANT more complexity??? Should I thank you both or the opposite? Lew, I just had to read carefully - it was well explained! It probably helps that I have been a passenger during a whole lot of helicopter flights, in mixed conditions. I may not have known the terms, but the physics make sense!
    Yeah, the limited capability is a problem, but I figure I will find my solution once I have made up my mind how aircraft-industry (or the equivalent maybe only for the military) evolved.

    Generally gravity always wins - it is only a question how hard the landing is :D
     
  17. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Appendum: Fascinating the V22, simply fascinating! Just watched a video and read through an introduction :) Thanks for the tip!

    Ow... I think I am in love!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  18. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    you think that's amazing look up the Nasa Puffin ;)
     
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  19. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Oh I did.. but I think I prefer the heavier stuff ;)
     
  20. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    A mechanic told me that helicopters typically spend 75-90% of their lifetime being repaired or rebuilt.
     
  21. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    Sorry I'm late to the party but I was in extended training for my day job as a pilot and just got back.
    For perpetually disturbed weather, there are aircraft routinely used for what you are talking. The P-3 Orion (Lockheed Electra) is used to penetrate hurricanes and fly around inside the eye then exit, the whole while taking weather measurements and observations. The same with the WC-130 military cargo plane. (The W is a weather moniker) So, if you're talking about seriously bad weather all the time and moving large amounts of cargo or equipment, these two aircraft would fit the bill. As far as what's better, I would go with the plane and not the helicopter. Lighter aircraft are moved easier by the wind. Heavier aren't so easily disturbed. Think about a large freighter on a stormy sea vs. a runabout boat.
     
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  22. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    @Rob40 : This is very good information - will do some research on them then :) Thank you!
     
  23. Scorpion02Tyr
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    Scorpion02Tyr Member

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    I spent 11 years in the military, most of that doing airlift operations. C-5's were used to take cargo to the other side of the world. They're huge! They can hold more cargo, fly farther/longer, but they need a very long runway to operate. C-130's were tactical airlift. Basically after the cargo has made it to the large airport on the other side of the world, it would be split up to several different C-130 loads and then delivered to the smaller places with shorter runways and harsher terrain. C-130's are also amazing aircraft for bad weather. A variant of the C-130 is what they use to study hurricanes... by flying into them. C-17's are a medium sized cargo plane. They can do most of the missions of the C-5 and the C-130, but they can't hold as much as the C-5 and they can't land on a runway as short as the C-130.
     
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  24. Scorpion02Tyr
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    Scorpion02Tyr Member

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    Also, different types of weather will cause different problems for aircraft. Ice build up on the wings will can make an aircraft fly lower, slower, and can burn up a lot more gas. A peaceful looking cloud of volcanic ash can destroy an aircraft's engines, causing a crash. High velocity winds at high altitudes can be helpful or they can be a pain in the rear, but not usually a danger. High velocity winds such as cross winds or microbursts at low altitudes can mean disaster during takeoff and landings.
     
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  25. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks @Scorpion02Tyr :) for especially the second parts about the hazards! I'll have to do some more research on the exact conditions, before I decide on the specifics of the aircrafts.
     

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