Air Transportation: Mercenary Air Forces Do The Hard Jobs



December 23, 2008: The U.S. military has a lot of small detachments all over Afghanistan, and Central Asian nations to the north. Keeping these bases supplied, and getting people in and out, can be difficult, because there is often no large air field nearby. Enter Blackwater International, the security company that guards many of the American, and local, big shots in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater has its own charter airline, Presidential Airways. For the last five years, this outfit has supplied transport services to these out of the way places. Presidential uses 8 ton CASA 212 and 19 ton Dash-8 twin engine transports, as well as some medium helicopters. It's the twin engine transports that do most of the work. One CASA 212 was lost in 2004, as it made a tricky approach to a land in a high altitude box canyon. But most of the time, the Presidential Air transports get in and out of tight spaces intact, and with hardly any publicity.

U.S. military transports (fixed wing and helicopter) are stretched thin in places like Afghanistan, especially now that the Taliban are using more roadside bombs. There are a few other charter airlines helping out, but Blackwater keeps busy by providing smaller, agile, aircraft for the most out-of-the way places. Most of these aircraft are flown by former military pilots.

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