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briansommers

Buffalo Airways - what a/c if they were a modern cargo company?

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Now that I've switched from Dish to Comcast cable I get the National Geographic channel and I'm thrilled to be watching reruns of Ice Pilots.I was wondering a what if scenario with Buffalo Airways. What if...they would decide to use a modern cargo fleet today, what would they use?Twotters, C208's?? ATR?? maybe?? any ideas?

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Now that I've switched from Dish to Comcast cable I get the National Geographic channel and I'm thrilled to be watching reruns of Ice Pilots.I was wondering a what if scenario with Buffalo Airways. What if...they would decide to use a modern cargo fleet today, what would they use?Twotters, C208's?? ATR?? maybe?? any ideas?
My guess is that they use these old airplanes because they are uniquely cost effective for the job they do. But perhaps someday, an ancient Hercules might be useful.Incidentally, I have been on a DC3 flight to Dawson City in the Yukon- a dozen or so passengers on grubby old seats to starboard with the entire port side behind cargo netting filled with sacks of potatoes and oranges and you name it in the definition of 'freight'. With no pressurization and I with a head cold, when the pilot apologized for climbing "above 10,000' to stay above the cloud" - I believed him!! Then clamber down not too steady stairs and squish thru' three inches of mud to the little terminal.Ever have the feeling that you are a LONG way from home??AR

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An interesting scenario....seeing as they are currently using some surplus WW2 air force cargo planes. I am going to say they could buy surplus C130's after Afghanistan. They would have a much easier time loading a C130 through the back door instead of the side door in some of those tail draggers.They could also buy B737-300, B737-400 and B737-500 and convert them to either Cargo or Combi's. Their are already a few B737-200's being used as Combi's by Air North and Canada North that have a Gravel Kit installed allowing them to land on Gravel Strips.They could buy up some of the 757's that are out there from some of the leasing companies or from American Airlines and Continental/United as those fleets are replaced by the new 787. Maybe you could but a gravel kit on a 757. And last but not least....The Dash 8 for obvious reasons. The Dash 8 is an aircraft designed and built by the same people and in the same factory that built the Beaver, Otter, Twin Otter and Buffalo Aircraft. The Dash 8 can get in and out of anything in the Canadian North. So my modernized Buffalo fleet consists of:2 C130's3 B737-300 or -400 or -500's Combi's2 B757-200 or -300 Cargo5 Dash 8 Combi's

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interesting.What made me think about it, was the fact that in one episode they had to fix something on a C-47 and they were talking about how hard it is to get parts and that one of these days they won't get parts and I'm thinkin' one of these days they will have to replace them with something for sure..I even thought they could go with some B1900C or F models with the caro podI totally forgot about the C130's though, that would really haul a lot of stuff.

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I've seen an episode where they had to use their Lockheed L-188 Electra and they said it was too expensive to operate unless the trip required enough freight revenue to justify it. And that the number of airports it could service were limited due to runway lengths. Wouldn't a C-130 burn even more fuel than the Electra and at a slower airspeed? (Although it could carry more cargo more conveniently) Could it be that these aircraft are too big to be a replacement for the smaller aircraft such as the C-46, DC-3, etc... Interesting subject though, I've wondered the same thing while watching this show. Possibly a more indeepth study of their routes (distance/runways) and freight/passengers is needed. :( Ron

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that brings up an interesting question:would it be fincially better to say run a whole bunch of say twotters and 208's?it seems it comes down to : smaller planes more flights or bigger planes less flights - the advantage of smaller planes, They wouldn't have any problems getting into smaller fields and maybe could pick up more jobs because they could even service smaller fields then they are now?

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I think you are all forgetting that they have more than what they show on television. Here is their full fleet list:Lockheed L-188 Electra FreightersDouglas DC-4Douglas DC-4 TankersDouglas DC-3Curtiss C-46Canadair CL-215CansoBaronKing AirTravel AirCessna 185Norseman I don't think they will be updating the fleet soon. They have aircraft that will do just about anything.

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I think you are all forgetting that they have more than what they show on television. I don't think they will be updating the fleet soon. They have aircraft that will do just about anything.
Well, Brian's original "What if?..." asked the question what modern aircraft would they use *if* they decided to update their fleet. Also, his mentioning that Buffalo had made statements in the series that the older WWII era aircraft would, at some point, exhaust the supply of spare parts. It was under this pretence that I chimed in. :( I didn't take it as they would need to update their entire fleet. I thought we were just entertaining thoughts as to what modern aircraft would be a good match to replace the old round motor planes. Buffalo does have some modern aircraft types, as your list shows, but none except the Electra, are close in frieght capabilities and the Electra just burns way too much fuel to be used as much as the ole' war horses.Ron

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I reckon they'd go for Basler BT-67s as a compromise.Al

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I don't think they will be updating the fleet soon. They have aircraft that will do just about anything.
It is a 'What If' scenario.....Therefore you fail

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mmm. I didn't know they had some of the smaller more modern a/c in there fleet. I wish they show would show those more...

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I reckon they'd go for Basler BT-67s as a compromise.Al
*Thats* a nice looking turboprop conversion! Kinda' points to the conclusion that the only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3! :( How about a C-23B+/C Super Sherpa? (Shorts 360 with an aft cargo ramp)Ron

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mmm. I didn't know they had some of the smaller more modern a/c in there fleet. I wish they show would show those more...
Makes you wonder if they limit access to camera crew. It wouldn't be too surprising as they may not want to show some parts of their operations on TV show as they do have competing airlines up there in that market.

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I think you'll find Joe will never use jets....it's props or nothing. The show mentionsa number of times how avgas is getting harder to find all the time. If I was making upa "what if" list it would include all the older "workhorse" turboprop aircraft from aroundthe world. Electras they already have....maybe a Short 360? Joe has been looking for aDC-3 turbo conversion....has been for a while.FaxCap

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It is a 'What If' scenario.....Therefore you fail
Thanks for adding so much insight to this thread.Problem is with this economy things are being downsized and not for 1:1 replacements. I could see them retrofitting their current fleet for cheaper than purchasing other aircraft and all their spares and parts.

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Thanks for adding so much insight to this thread.
he was asking 'What If they were a modern cargo company and I did answer his original question:
So my modernized Buffalo fleet consists of:2 C130's3 B737-300 or -400 or -500's Combi's2 B757-200 or -300 Cargo5 Dash 8 Combi's
How much more insight can one offer? Still haven't heard what your fleet would consist ofIn my original answer I was considering the costs of purchasing used aircraft against the rising costs of continued service on an aging fleet. I think the 737's and Dash 8's are a very good option for Buffalo down the road as they are already used in the Canadian Arctic by other cargo ops.The C130's and 757's was just imagineering on my part as I really like those 2 aircraft and would be cool to see them in Buffalo colours. But with so many 757's about to come out of service and replaced by 787's there may be a viable option there one day.But I also recognize that a 757 may be a little too big for Buffalo's operations. I do think that used 737's and Dash 8 is a very realistic option for Buffalo, with a gravel kit these two are already proven aircraft in the high arctic.Cheers

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