Review: On Atlas' Shoulders: RAF Transport Projects Since 1945

While cooped up in the house, I’ve been perusing some recent book purchases, among them this magnificent volume covering the history of British airlifters, from the immediate post-war period (when the RAF actually had to make us of captured Japanese transports) through to the A400M. There is coverage of a *great* many unbuilt designs, which will delight any “what if” fan.

Some highlights:

Chapter 2: Fetch and Carry: Holds, Wheels and Engines
A look at airlifter technology, with diagrams including:
Hold sizes or various types, including the Brittanic, C-133 and C-130.
Cross sections overlaid with a square showing the max square load of the Belfast – many types, even the 747F and DC-10F, could not handle this.
Visual explanations of the Khe Sanh approach, LAPES and GPES.

Chapter 3 Transports for the Austerity Years
Color shots of a York and Hastings C.1
3-view of a projected Hastings outgrowth with a revised rear fuselage incorporating a tail ramp.
Diagram showing the evolution of the X.30/46 glider into the Beverley.
3-view of the Stage 2 Beverley with Tyne engines, with close-up drawings of the Centaurus and Tyne installations.
Stage 3 Beverely with Napier Elands
Several depictions of the Blackburn B.107

Chapter 4  An Argosy Abandoned – OR.323 Medium Transport
3-views include:
Airspeed AS.60 Ayrshire and AS.67 – these would have used the wings and tail of the Ambassador.
Bristol Type 167 “flying boxcar” type design
Shorts’ PD.16
Scottish Aviation Turbo Pioneer

Chapter 5: Strategic Freighters Round One
3-view diagrams for the C.132/OR.315, including the HP.96, Vickers Type 716 and V.1000, Shorts’ DH and Avro contenders.
Comet 5 3-view
Bristol 175, 187 and Brittania 100 3-views.
Coverage of planned hypersonic successors to the VC.10, including an artist’s depiction of the HS.1019/A5

Chapter 7 To Singapore by the Cable Route – AST 364
Covers the post 1957 efforts to provide a long range strategic transport to help the UK fufill its obligations to nations in Southeast Asia. Reaching Asia in a post-Suez world was a challenge – as many nations in Africa and the Middle East might not grant overflight rights. A solution was to use the “cable route” around the Cape of Good Hope – named for the Victorian era telegraph route.

The HP.117 flying wing strategic transport projected for the 1970s.
VC.10 with revised forward fuselage for front loading
Brittanic 6 with VC.10 wings
Jet Belfast with C-141 derived wings
BAC VC.10 derivative with high-mounted wing and swing nose
Coverage of UK deliberations on a C-5A purchase, including a photo of a Galaxy model in RAF colors

Chapter 8 Theatre Transport Replacement Aircraft: OR.351
Details the effort to replace the Beverley and Hastings with a new tactical transport that would be capable of STOL operations from austere forward airstrips

Types covered include:
BAC Warton EAG.3198 with lift fans
Avro Type 773 C-130 look-a-like with variable-incidence wings and Tyne turboprops
BAC 208
BAC.222 C-130 derivative with a larger fuselage and Tyne engines
Tactical Belfast with blown surfaces

Chapter 9: Blown Away by the Chinook – Light Cargo Aircraft

Avro 758
HP Military Herald
HP.127 Jet Herald

Chapter 11: South of Suez and a Return to the East
FIMA/FLA/Euroflag alternatives
Purchase at Amazon

American Secret Projects 2: US Airlifters 1941-1961

American Secret Projects 3: U.S. Airlifters Since 1962

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