Heavylift / Breakbulk
Giant cargo planes of the future
A design competition seeking the cargo aircraft of the 21st century inspired many an engineer and aviation enthusiast recently, with the entrants ranging from 22 to 74 years of age. The winners have a greater future ahead of them.
The competition, which ran for twelve months, ended on 15 August, with the winners announced at the 3rd International Air Transport Forum in Ulyanovsk, the southern Russian city where Volga-Dnepr was founded in 1990. The winning team was made up of Ilya Ageev, Sergey Borovykh and Nikolay Turbin, students at Moscow’s Aviation Institute.
They impressed the jury, which consisted of Victor Tolmachev (the technical director at Volga-Dnepr as well as the chief designer of the An-124) with a 200-page feasibility study for the design of a heavylift aircraft concept with a new aerodynamic configuration.
Their proposal consisted of a complete description and design study for a triple-decker aircraft in the An-225’s class. The unit will have two booms, between which there will be an external load capacity for «super-heavy and oversized cargo». This simultaneously represented a job application – the three students are now members of Volga-Dnepr’s design team. «We organised this competition for those interested in the future of air transport. For this reason we didn’t set any age limits. The youngest participant was 22 and the oldest 74 years old,» according to Artem Aroutynov, describing the company’s motivation.
Lucky winners and happy organisers
According to the deputy technical director and head of the design department at Volga-Dnepr, this means that the company has also been able to get to know many very talented people and received interesting, complex and incredibly detailed projects from Russia, Germany (the second prize went to a team based in Stuttgart), Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine. «The best of these are really useful design solutions that can be used in the aviation industry.»
Alexey Komarov, a graduate of Moscow’s Stroganov University of the Arts and Industry, received a special prize for his concept of a transport aircraft of the future (pictured above). The model he designed was displayed at Volga-Dnepr’s exhibition stand at the Air Transport Forum, and attracted the interest of many visitors.
Predictions for the air cargo market
Before this it had been displayed at a Sino-Russian exhibition in the Chinese city of Harbin, and at Innoprom in Yekaterinburg, where it had already attracted the attention of Russian central government officials.
One of the competition categories asked about the trends and predictions for the global air cargo market. The winner was a team from the Kharkiv Aviation Institute (Ukraine), led by Professor Vasiliy Vartanyan. The future engines for heavy cargo aircraft category saw Nikolay Makarov, a student at Ufa Technical University, come out on top.
«When examining each project we took into account its novelty and originality, as well as its technical feasibility. We evaluated its efficiency, the degree of the technical planning and the potential for the design to be realised,» Aroutynov continued. «In the Volga-Dnepr design office we work to create the concept of future transport aircraft, and we would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to all of the competition’s participants.»
Active development work
«We have been inspired by the entrants’ skills, their enthusiasm as well as their pro-active approach. We’ll do our best to incorporate the results of their work in Volga-Dnepr’s activities and to integrate them into the design of the cargo aircraft for the 21st century,» Aroutynov said in closing.