Jet Engine Shipping in North America
Jet engine shipping in North America is much more common than you might think. Although the average motorist may not be able to recognize an aircraft engine when it is fully covered on a trailer, you have likely driven past one on its way to the airport or maintenance facility.
If it flies in the air we have probably put it on a truck at some point. All components of the aircraft are important/sensitive and deserve the utmost care and attention when transporting them. However, the propulsion systems are the heart of the airplane and the only component that allows such a giant machine to get off the ground, and not turn into an un-powered glider once in the air.
Jet propulsion systems are extremely powerful engines, yet very delicate and sensitive to shocks when being transported on the ground. The centrifugal force of a spinning turbine evenly distributes the weight of the engine (could be as little as 5000lbs or as heavy as 25,000 lbs). However, when the engine is not spinning, that entire weight is resting on the central shaft and its bearings. These bearings can easily be damaged by jolts felt on the highway or city streets. Which is why all aircraft engines must be transported on a 100% air-ride suspension system to protect it from these small impacts.
IMT did a test with one of our air-ride trailer systems to see how much force was actually being transferred to the cargo on the road. We installed an accelerometer to measure the G-forces at play and the results were interesting, you can read more here.
In addition to the type of trailer system required, jet engine shipping in North America requires an extreme attention to detail and advanced knowledge of the cargo being transported. Jet engines are secured to cradles (or engine stands) that support the engine much the same way the wing of a plane would. The engine stand consists of two parts, the cradle that supports the engine and the base that supports the cradle. These specialized stands also provide extra cushioning called isolation mounts, which are either rubber blocks or metal springs that serve to separate the engine cradle from the base of the stand that actually contacts the trailer.
The engine stand must be secured to the trailer without restricting the isolation mounts in any way. They have to be free to absorb the shocks that make it through the airbag suspension system of the trailer, otherwise severe damage to the engine bearings can occur.
With an aircraft engine, there is no such thing as a small amount of damage. If a trucking company were to improperly secure the engine or use inadequate equipment, a mandatory inspection of the engine could be triggered costing over $100,000. That is just to see if there is anything wrong, it doesn’t cover the cost of any repairs.
Jet engine shipping in North America requires carriers that are experienced and knowledgeable about the cargo they are transporting. At IMT, we put our drivers through a stringent training process that includes classroom theory, hands-on training and a final exam.
The value of aircraft engines can range from $200,000 to over $20 million. But the real cost to the airline is when an aircraft cannot fly due to engine problems. That makes every aircraft engine shipment critically important!
If you want to learn more about jet engine shipping in North America, visit our page on aircraft engine transportation or contact us directly today!