Delivering Aid – Types of Aircraft for Humanitarian Cargo Operations

The most challenging and risky type of humanitarian cargo operations are the relief missions to disaster-stricken regions, which require the use of chartered airplanes.
And in this article you will find out which aircraft are used for these flights.

Delivering Aid – Types of Aircraft for Humanitarian Cargo Operations

Charters are the only practical way to get aid to an affected region in the event of disasters like earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes. However, a disaster of this magnitude is frequently followed by additional intrusive challenges, such as difficulties with air traffic control, aircraft handling, and locating the most appropriate cargo aircraft.

Property damage or human casualties might result from a political uprising or natural calamity. Typically, this causes economic harm, the extent of which is determined by the population’s capacity for recovery and the state of the infrastructure. When such disasters occur, DWC collaborates with a number of NGOs to provide immediate humanitarian relief to the victims. This is why it is important to choose the right cargo aircraft for humanitarian missions.

Small Turboprop Aircraft

Since turboprop engines are lighter than conventional jet engines, they can take off more efficiently. Due to the drag a propeller creates, turboprops can land on considerably shorter runway strips and come to a complete stop much faster than jets. This gives turboprops an obvious edge over jets in landing performance. The following are some of the more popular models that are used for delivering humanitarian aid and their capabilities.

• Cessna Caravan

The aircraft is renowned for its tough usefulness and adaptability. The Caravan aircraft offers an exceptional mix of high performance, low operating costs, and flexibility to adapt to a broad variety of tasks thanks to its strong turboprop engine.

• Pilatus PC-12

At its maximum weight, the PC-12 NGX can take off and land on short runways (2,500 feet) and can operate on just about any surface. You can go in a business aircraft like the PC-12 NGX to locations you’ve never visited before and fly to where you want to end up and cut down on overall trip time.

• Beechcraft King Air

The King Air 350iER (Extended Range) version is used by the military for intelligence gathering, aerial surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance operations. The Beechcraft King Air 350 and older King Air variants are used by the military as cargo aircraft and for electronic warfare.

Medium-Sized Cargo Aircraft

• Lockheed C-130 Hercules

Significant performance enhancements and new operational capabilities offered by the C-130J Super Hercules directly translate into more effective ground and aerial combat. Operating out of 2,000-foot-long dirt strips in high mountain ranges is one of these qualities.

• ATR 72

The ATR 72-600 is by far the most fuel-efficient regional aircraft thanks to its lighter frame, improved speed, and an engine built for short sectors. ATR is the best aircraft for regional markets because of its advantage in fuel burn, which results in lower costs and pollution.

• Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia

Better service is guaranteed by the aircraft’s increased agility and efficiency. The firm has successfully operated in a number of aviation industries, including Commercial Aviation, for 50 years. It designs, develops, produces, and markets aircraft and systems while offering services and support to clients. The Embraer 175 and Embraer 195 are two of the safest aircraft in the world.

• Large Cargo Aircraft

For natural disasters such as earthquakes or floods, where thousands are left homeless and in need of aid, large cargo aircraft are required. Large-capacity cargo aircraft are ideal when the goal is to get large amounts of humanitarian aid as quickly as possible to those affected.

• Boeing C-17 Globemaster III

The most adaptable cargo jet to join the airlift force is the C-17 Globemaster III. The C-17 can carry heavy payloads with relative ease.

• Airbus A400M Atlas

The A400M tactical airlifter can transport a variety of oversized cargo, including vehicles and helicopters that are too big or too heavy for earlier-generation tactical airlifters. This is the first choice when it comes to sending over heavy earth-moving machinery to remote places after a natural disaster.

• Ilyushin Il-76

Its minimal runway requirements of only 1700 meters for takeoff and 1000 meters for landing make it a flexible aircraft that can land on short and so-called “unprepared” runways. It can carry a load of up to 34000 kg or the weight of six containers.

Specialized Aircraft for Humanitarian Cargo

Through the years, there have been many advancements in air travel – and that also goes for air cargo as well.

• Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft

As the name implies, these aircraft have been designed to take off or land vertically rather than needing a runway. These are the ideal choice for delivering humanitarian aid to remote, mountainous regions where there is no access to roads or if the runway has been damaged.

• Amphibious aircraft

An aircraft classified as amphibious is one that can take off and land on both land and water. The Twin Otter airplane from Viking can have amphibious floats installed, enabling it to land on both land and water without changing out the landing gear between flights.

• High-wing aircraft for unprepared airstrips

To take advantage of powerful thermals, the average speed across the nation can be enhanced by raising wing weight. A  lift-to-drag ratio may be reached with a higher wing loading at a high airspeed, allowing for a quicker average speed throughout the nation.


Earthquakes, floods, or conflict – whenever a grave situation arises, the global community comes together to help by sending humanitarian aid to the affected people. The question is, how does one transport thousands of tons of humanitarian aid? This is where choosing the right aircraft can make or break a humanitarian mission.

Making sure you’ve got the right aircraft for the task at hand not only ensures that food, water, medicine, and other life-saving supplies reach their destination safely, but can also save countless lives.  So now that you know the capabilities of various aircraft, you can make a more informed decision.

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Delivering Aid - Types of Aircraft for Humanitarian Cargo Operations Charters are the only practical way to get aid to an affected region in the event of disasters like earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes. However, a disaster of this magnitude is freq [...]
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