Pink Helicopter Road Transportation
Helicopter Road Transportation
Ever wondered what a helicopter dipped in pink frosting looks like? Well so did we, check out the Hello Kitty inspired Sikorsky S-92 helicopter on an expandable double drop trailer. IMT was contracted for helicopter road transportation from Tacoma, WA to North Saanich, British Columbia.
Originating in South Korea, this helicopter was used privately by one of the government ministers, the inside is all wood panelling and other VIP comfort amenities. The helicopter was transported via ship from South Korea to the Port of Tacoma, Washington.
From Tacoma, IMT was contracted to transport the S-92 helicopter on the road across the border to its final destination at VIH Aviation Group headquarters at Victoria International Airport
There were several challenges to overcome for helicopter road transportation with such a large machine. The most difficult were the over height and over width considerations. The helicopter itself is around 56’ long, we used a double drop trailer expanded to 56’ to compensate for the length of the machine. This still left 12’ of overhang on the back end.
In addition to the length, the S-92 helicopter is 13’ 1” wide. Even with a wider than normal trailer (9’) there were significant over width issues that had to be overcome pre-delivery through routing and pre-trip planning. Even the best laid routes will have their challenges en route due to traffic and other physical barriers.
IMT had a custom cradles manufactured to hold the landing gear of the S-92. Both the front and back landing gear needed to be secured in order to ensure zero stress on sensitive components of the helicopter.
With the helicopter on the trailer, the overall height was 15’ 10”, just under 16’ start point for “Super Status” loads, but still over height and requiring a pole car driving ahead of the cargo in transit. (Super Status is a designation give to any shipment over 16’ tall, it requires a much more in-depth routing and permitting process)
Having a pole car is essential for over height loads, even though the height of all over passes are programmed into a computer routing software. For this shipment there were some low hanging power lines in Bellingham that tripped the pole on the pilot car. This required the convoy to stop, traffic be diverted and the shipment re-routed during transit. In one case a power line service technician was called to lift a wire with an extendable pole to allow the helicopter to pass under safely.
Moves such as this one are not possible without an experienced pilot car service. The lead car is responsible for calling out turns, potential obstacles to navigate and height concerns. The trail car is responsible for blocking and controlling traffic as necessary as well as ensuring nothing gets close to the back end of the trailer with 12’ of helicopter overhanging on the road.
During this helicopter road transportation we experienced a few impatient drivers that attempted to get by the convoy and had to be controlled by the trail car. Even though that particular road was two lanes, the right side of the road had a curb on it instead of just grass and a ditch. The double drop trailer is extremely low to the ground to compensate for the over height issues. The trail car had to keep traffic at bay until the convoy reached a safe stretch of road for the vehicles to pass.
The truck and trailer were loaded onto a barge at Seaspan on Tilbury Island, BC. The barge used the late evening tide to ship the helicopter out to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island at 1:30am. Total time on the water was 3.5 hours and our driver met the cargo on the Island side at 5am.
From there it was a short 20 minute drive up the road to Victoria International Airport where a crane truck met the convoy to off load the helicopter at VIH Aviation Group headquarters.
The S-92 helicopter ground transportation went smoothly overall with only a few minor concerns during transit. Challenges such as these are common in shipments of this size and require an experienced team to deliver the cargo safely and without incident.
As an added challenge, we decided to film this operation from when the cargo crossed into Canada all the way until the crane unloaded it on Vancouver Island. Video footage of this move will be available after post production editing is completed.