Knight Aerospace’s Palletized Systems: Designed with Function and Adaptability

Military service members board aircraft where they will sit on palletized systems that enable a cargo aircraft to seat more people comfortably as in a commercial aircraft with rows of seats.

Air cargo operations typically involve the transport of diverse products and equipment to targeted clients. Cargo aircraft operators have historically shipped multiple integral system components for assembly at the recipient’s site. However, San Antonio-based Knight Aerospace has premiered a stand-alone palletized system adaptable to diverse clients’ needs. This solution, along with myriad competitive advantages, makes the firm stand out globally among numerous United States aerospace companies.

Knight Aerospace Palletized System Overview

Knight designs and manufactures palletized systems compatible with common cargo transport aircraft. From the palletized system program’s inception, design and manufacturing engineers have met a set of well-defined criteria.

Specifically, all processes have adhered to applicable Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) and Joint Commission standards. The Knight Aerospace team also ensures compliance with applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. This dedication to excellence puts Knight Aerospace in the top tier of aerospace companies.

Palletized System Specifications

Knight designs each palletized system to meet predetermined aircraft and customer parameters. The aircraft’s configuration determines the palletized system selection. For reference, pallets can be deployed in an 88” or 108” wide bias. Knight ensures multiple pallets are connected without any gaps.

Palletized system airworthiness is a major consideration. Each configured system locks into the aircraft cargo handling system and incorporates an anti-movement device. This specialized design prevents in-flight movement that could jeopardize the aircraft’s weight and balance. Each palletized system is designed and configured to meet or surpass the specific aircraft’s crash loads.

Seat, Galley, and Lavatory Installations Built To FAA Standards

Knight’s seating and specialty pallets are built to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other government and military standards. This means Knight’s customers can effectively install and safely operate the equipment in various types of aircraft.

For example, Knight is collaborating with Collins Aerospace to build an Air Transportable Galley/Lavatory (ATGL) for both foreign military operators and the US military.

Tom Gallo, Knight’s chief revenue officer, explains how this Next Generation ATGL could replace nearly obsolete equipment on many United States Air Force aircraft. 

“The ATGL is just what it says: It’s an airworthy galley and lavatory. The U.S. Air Force has a couple hundred of these that are old and breaking down. They have the old blue water for the toilets, and believe it or not, when an aircraft takes out at a high angle of attack or a high nose attitude, “the blue juice” as operators call it, can leak. It’s just awful.

“We saw a need and a requirement for airworthiness and adaptability and decided to partner with credible experts in aircraft interiors. That is where Collins Aerospace’s interior division comes into play to build the lavatory. We build the galley as a joint project that we’re doing together with the U.S. Air Force and other operators and aircraft platforms around the world,” Gallo concludes.

Compatible Cargo Aircraft Platforms

The Knight palletized system operates on several widely used cargo aircraft platforms. All C-130, C-17, C-27J, and C-295 aircraft configurations can accommodate a Knight palletized system. The U.S. Air Force and other countries commonly utilize these aircraft.

Specifically, the pallets are compatible with any aircraft utilizing a cargo handling system sized for a 463L pallet. Besides military aircraft, this specification may apply to cargo shipping companies and specialty cargo transport businesses. Other aerospace companies may utilize the Knight palletized system.

Palletized System Loading Protocols

Knight Aerospace’s palletized system is designed to quickly and efficiently load into an aircraft’s cargo door. A “roll-on/roll-off” methodology enables an operator to load the palletized system from a standard cargo loader or generic forklift.

Once the palletized system is aboard the aircraft, workers secure it to the cargo handling system. Finally, a technician connects the system to the aircraft’s power source and communications equipment, and the palletized system is ready for use.

Adaptable Knight Aerospace Palletized System

The term “palletized system” implies a generic system that satisfies different clients’ requirements. However, Knight Aerospace produces three types of pallets, each designed to meet a distinct market need. Tom Gallo explains the differences between transport pallets, medevac pallets, and special operations pallets.

“Think of a home: the basement, the foundation is the same for all of those. It goes back to airworthiness, safety of flight, and robust resilience of the product. The things you put on top of the pallet (foundation), the industry calls the monuments,” he explains.

“Whether you put on top of that foundation an ATGL, or passenger seats, or a table, or something else for medical professionals, we can design it as needed.

“The special mission systems we sell to some integrators use our pallets. On the seating tracks on top of the pallet is a special mission launch capability that deploys out of the back of a cargo aircraft,” he concludes.

The Palletized System’s Flexibility in Action

Anali Ibarra, Knight sales and marketing team member, explains how the palletized system’s versatility benefits different users. “There are a few different ways in which our roll-on/roll-off systems are adaptable. It is possible to pair one of our ATGLs with a seating pallet or a medical pallet,  and that gives you the adaptability of running multiple missions and different types of missions with the same aircraft.,” Ibarra summarizes.

Knight continues to adapt its palletized system to its clients’ diverse needs. This innovative approach enables the company to excel among aerospace companies and sets the stage for sustained growth and innovation.