Since I have some responsibilities in the area of airfield infrastructure, my education continued yesterday with observation of some unloading operations. Now, when the Navy loads groceries on a ship heading for sea, the truck comes to the pierside, a forklight lowers the pallets down to the pier, someone breaks open the pallets, and a human chain passes the cartons, one by one, up the gangplank and down to the food storage areas.
No such primitive and inefficient goings-on here, of course. This was a cargo-configured 747 coming in from Dubai; they had a cargo handler that took two triple-stacked pallets at a time, lowering with a scissors jack, and they managed to fill six flatbeds in about 20 minutes, once the bird was on the ramp and the doors were open.
Meanwhile, one of those gi-normous Russian surplus cargo planes rolled by. It was a very impressive evening!