MTU Detroit Diesel: A Present Day Salute to a Past Military Hero & Series 700
Florida Detroit Diesel and FMCAirport Systems pay homage to an American legend.
During the blockade following World War II, an ace transport pilot and inventive philanthropist took on the legendary persona of the ‘candy bomber,’ as he dropped more than 250,000 small parachutes filled with candy down to the children of Berlin.
As word of this inventive goodwill effort spread, support grew throughout the United States for the Airlifters and their goal to keep
Berlin free from Soviet power. The creative act of kindness inspired generations of aircrews and developed a future for humanitarian airlift. Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen, the famed Berlin Airlift “Candy Bombere”, has now been immortalized in several ways, and when it was time to replace the archaic 60’s and 70’s technology for loading and unloading modern aircraft, he was respected further with the presentation of the Halvorsen Loader, built by FMC Airport Systems in Orlando, Florida for the Air Mobility Command of the United States Air Force.
The fame and recognition that accompanied the inventive acts of Col. Halvorsen led to his service as a diplomat toGermany, a role he continues to enjoy today without personal compensation. “I think it’s quite an honor,” said Pete Orser from Florida Detroit Diesel Allison. “They normally don’t name this kind of thing after a person while they’re still alive.”
The 25,000 pound capacity, next-generation small cargo loader was selected by the U.S. Air Force to replace all of its existing 25K capacity machines. The first of a new generation of Air Force loaders, the Halvorsen is capable of deployment in less than 30 minutes and can be transported on even the smallest of military cargo aircraft.
Powered by a Detroit Diesel Series 700 six cylinder, turbocharged 4-cycle engine and an Allison four-speed automatic transmission, the Halvorsen Loader is able to travel at 17 mph and can climb longitudinal grades of up to 10 degrees.
In developing this highly advanced piece of machinery, FMC engineers focused on operational capability, efficient maintenance, and a proven reliability. The loader can reach heights ranging from 39 inches to 222 inches, unparalleled by any other loader available, and is the first small loader capable of reaching the cargo doors of both military and commercial aircraft.
Also heralded for the maneuverability provided by hydraulic power steering, the Halvorsen can execute a 180° turn on a 50-foot taxiway. The loader’s ease of operation is further complimented by its unequaled efficiency. Powered by nine proportional control power convey modules, its capable of moving cargo pallets at speeds of up to 90 feet per minute.
Proven to meet or exceed all USAF requirements, the Halvorsen is engineered to stand up to the punishment of steady military use in highly diverse locations and conditions. The Air Force employs the loader in two different applications. It is commonly used in air cargo operations at air bases, and it is also utilized by mobile airlift support units known as Air Mobility Squadrons, which deploy the loaders wherever and whenever they are needed. Today, the Halvorsen Loader has become the backbone of the Global Reach airlift 463-L pallet movement system and is deployed in operations worldwide.
Col. Halvorsen’s legacy is a product of his lifelong love of flying and serving his country, and it’s no surprise that he is a decorated member of the Airlift/Tanker Hall of Fame.
“I think it’s a great way to honor Col. Halvorsen,” said Orser, “And it’s a perfect name for these versatile loaders.”
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