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Amazing planes with unusual duties

Last updated on: February 21, 2012 15:38 IST

Amazing planes with unusual duties

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Most of the aeroplanes in the world are used to transport people or goods, but some have unusual purposes.

Let's take a look at some planes that have unusal purposes, according to CNBC.

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Image: These planes have unusual duties.
Photographs: allstuffpics.net

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Amazing planes with unusual duties

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Airbus A300-600ST

Beluga - Super Transporter

The Airbus A300-600ST (Super Transporter), or Beluga, is a version of the standard A300-600 wide-body airliner modified to carry aircraft parts and over-sized or awkward cargo.

It was officially called the Super Transporter at first, but the name Beluga became popular and has now been officially adopted.

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Image: Airbus A300-600ST.
Photographs: flugzeuginfo.net

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Amazing planes with unusual duties

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Its primary task is to carry Airbus components ready for final assembly across Europe to Toulouse or Hamburg, but they are also available for charter work, and have been used to carry a variety of special loads, including space station components, large, very delicate artwork, industrial machinery and entire helicopters.

In 1999, it carried a large painting Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix, which had hung in the Louvre in Paris since 1874.

It flew from Paris to Tokyo via Bahrain and Calcutta in about 20 hours. The large canvas, measuring 2.99 metres (9.81 ft) high by 3.62 metres (11.88 ft) long, was too large to fit into a Boeing 747. It was transported in the vertical position inside a special pressurized container provided with isothermal protection and an anti-vibration device.

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Image: Its primary task is to carry Airbus components.
Photographs: surclaro.com

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Amazing planes with unusual duties

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Bombardier 415

"Superscooper" - Water Bomber

The Bombardier 415 is a Canadian amphibious aircraft purpose-built as a water bomber. It is an aircraft designed and built specifically for aerial firefighting and is based on the company's CL-215 flying boat.

It is marketed in the United States as the "Superscooper".

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Image: Bombardier 415.
Photographs: airforcephotos.blogspot.in

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Amazing planes with unusual duties

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The "415" first flew on December 6, 1993, with the first deliveries in November 1994. Orders from many countries soon followed.

Derived from its predecessor's nickname, it acquired the name, "Super Scooper" in light of its greatly enhanced performance as a water bomber and fire suppressant weapon.

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Image: The 415 first flew on December 6, 1993.
Photographs: habitatadvocate.com.au

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Amazing planes with unusual duties

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Erickson S-64 Aircrane

Skycrane

The Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane is an American twin-engine heavy-lift helicopter. It is the civil version of the United States Army's CH-54 Tarhe.

The S-64 Aircrane is the current production version, manufactured by the Erickson Air-Crane company.

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Image: Erickson S-64 Aircrane.
Photographs: ericksonaircrane.com
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Erickson is manufacturing new S-64s, as well as remanufacturing existing CH-54s. Erickson gives each of its S-64s an individual name, the best-known being "Elvis", used in fighting fires in Australia alongside "The Incredible Hulk" and "Isabelle".

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Image: Erickson gives each of its S-64s an individual name.
Photographs: air-and-space.com
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WP-3D Orion

Hurricane Hunters

The Lockheed WP-3D Orion is a highly modified P-3 Orion used by the Aircraft Operations Center division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Only two of these craft exist, each incorporating numerous features for the role of collecting weather information. During hurricane season, the WP-3Ds are deployed for duty as hurricane hunters.

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Image: WP-3D Orion.
Photographs: teacheratsea.wordpress.com

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Amazing planes with unusual duties

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The WP-3Ds are equipped with three weather radars, C band radars in the nose and on the lower fuselage, and an X-band radar in the aircraft's tail. They are also equipped with dropsondes, temperature sensors, and other meteorological equipment.

The aircraft are not specially strengthened for flying into hurricanes, however their decks were reinforced to withstand the additional equipment load.

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Image: The aircraft are not specially strengthened for flying into hurricanes.
Photographs: av8.home.comcast.net

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Amazing planes with unusual duties

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Antonov AN-225 Mriya

Space Shuttle Carrier

The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft, designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s. It is the world's heaviest aircraft.

The design, built in order to transport the Buran orbiter, was an enlargement of the successful An-124 Ruslan.

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Image: Antonov AN-225 Mriya.
Photographs: aircraft-wallpaper.com

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The first An-225 was completed in 1988 and a second An-225 has been partially completed. The one An-225 is in commercial operation with the Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads.

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Image: The first An-225 was completed in 1988.
Photographs: aircraft-flightsimulator.com

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Terrafugia Transition

Flying Car

The Terrafugia Transition is a light sport, roadable aircraft. When operated as a car, the engine powers the rear wheel drive. In flight, the engine drives a pusher propeller.

The Transition has folding wings, pusher propeller and twin tail.

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Image: Terrafugia Transition.
Photographs: terrafugia.com

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The Rotax 912S piston engine powered, carbon-fibre vehicle is planned to have a flight range of 425 nmi (489 mi; 787 km) using automotive grade unleaded petrol and a cruising flight speed of 107 mph (93 kn; 172 km/h).

It does not include an autopilot.

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Image: The flying car can go from being a car to a plane in less than a minute by unfolding its wings.
Photographs: inhabitat.com

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Amazing planes with unusual duties

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RQ-170 Sentinel

Stealth Drone

An unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator, or pilot (called a Combat Systems Officer on UCAVs) or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity.

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Image: RQ-170 Sentinel.
Photographs: majalla.com

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Their largest use is within military applications. To distinguish UAVs from missiles, a UAV is defined as a "powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload".

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Image: Their largest use is within military applications.
Photographs: dunyanews.tv

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Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo

Space Plane

Virgin Galactic is a company within Richard Branson's Virgin Group which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public, along with suborbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites.

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Image: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo.
Photographs: aviationnews.eu

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Further in the future Virgin Galactic hopes to offer orbital human spaceflights as well. Virgin Galactic uses a method with two vehilcles: a 'mother-ship' in the form of a large airplane (fixed wing aircraft) which takes-off and lands like a normal airplane and the actual space-vehilcle launches from the mothership when she is inflight giving the spacecraft a start-speed and maximum altitude from an 'normal' fixed-wind-aircraft.

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Image: Virgin Galactic hopes to offer orbital human spaceflights as well.
Photographs: jalopnik.com

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