Since the advantage of air freight is much shorter transit times, cargo must move quickly through an aircraft. An aircraft is a machine that can fly by gaining support from the air. It counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an air foil or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.
Flying model craft and stories of manned flight go back many centuries; however the first manned ascent - and safe descent - in modern times took place by larger hot-air balloons developed in the 18th century. Each of the two World Wars led to great technical advances. Consequently, the history of aircraft can be divided into five eras
Apart from being used for travel and for ferrying cargo, airplanes are also used for other applications. General uses of airplanes include air medical transportation, weather observation, flight training, crop dusting, fire fighting, aerial photography and surveying. Airplanes are also used for entertainment like jet fighter exhibitions, wing walkers and for carrying parachutists.
Different criteria may classify aircraft, such as lift type, aircraft propulsion, usage, and others.Airplanes are mainly used for travelling and for the transportation of commodities, aid and equipment across long distances. Travelling and transporting cargo using an airplane is the fastest and, at times, the only means to reach a destination.
Aircraft were put to use carrying cargo in the form of "air mail" as early as 1911. Although the earliest aircraft were not designed primarily as cargo carriers, by the mid-1920s aircraft manufacturers were designing and building dedicated cargo aircraft.
A cargo aircraft (also known as freight aircraft, freighter, airlifter or cargo jet) is a fixed-wing aircraft that is designed or converted for the carriage of cargo rather than passengers.
Cargo aircraft represent a small proportion of the overall air freight market.
Major Aircrafts used to transport cargo either in belly hold of passenger aircraft or a fully converted freighter:
- Aero Spacelines Mini Guppy
- Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy
- Aero Spacelines Super Guppy
- Airbus A300
- Airbus A300B4-608ST 'Beluga'
- Airbus A310
- Airbus A320 (Conversions)
- Airbus A330
- Airbus A380F
- Antonov An-12
- Antonov An-26
- Antonov An-32
- Antonov An-124 (the second largest operating cargo aircraft in the world)
- Antonov An-225 (the largest and heaviest aircraft in the world)
- Boeing 727 (Conversions)
- Boeing 737 (Conversions)
- Boeing 747-8 Freighter
- Boeing 747 Freighter
- Boeing 757
- Boeing 767
- Boeing 777 Freighter
- Bombardier Dash 8 series 300 Freighter (Conversions)
- British Aerospace 146QT (Conversions)
- British Aerospace ATPF (Conversions)
- Douglas DC-3
- Douglas DC-8
- Douglas DC-9
- Ilyushin Il-76
- Ilyushin Il-96
- Lockheed L-100
- McDonnell Douglas DC-10
- McDonnell Douglas MD-11
- Tupolev Tu-204