Aero India’s biggest aircraft put on a diet

Personnel working at the Aero India show say that the Omega tanker is the biggest aircraft they have seen at this year’s event. One would assume that the fuel tank of the aircraft would also be big and full. The tank is indeed big, they say, but never full.
While all the other aircraft top up before it is time to put up a show in the skies, the Omega lives on a lean diet when it comes to fuel. The reason is the length of the runway (3 km) at the Yelahanka air base. It is not long enough for the plane to take off on a full tank. A full tank adds considerably to the weight of the aircraft and prevents it from picking up momentum fast enough to take off from short runways. On a full tank, Omega needs a runway as long as the one at BIAL (4 km) to take off or land.
Talking about full tanks, personnel of oil companies were kept very busy by the continuous movement of aircraft at the show. Every now and then, aircraft would take off to put up a show for business visitors and spectators.
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the official fuel supplier for the show, dispenses about 800 kilolitres (KL) of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) every day. The most hungry of the lot is the Hercules, a US transport aircraft, which consumes about 700 litres for each flight of six minutes. During the show, an aircraft can demonstrate in the air for a little less than seven minutes before making way for others.
13/02/11 Sameer Ranjan Bakshi/Pune Mirror

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