Heavylift / Breakbulk
The know-how accumulated over the years by Ruslan International, the company which manages and markets the combined Antonov AN-124 fleets of its shareholders Antonov Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Airlines, was recently in particularly high demand.
It arranged for the successful movement of a 101 t oil platform component from Bergen (Norway) to Busan (South Korea) on an AN-124 flight. The load, comprising a so-called separator, as well as two support frames and other loading equipment, weighed a total of 114 t – very close to the giant aircraft’s capacity for the route. The large dimensions of the piece (11.6 x 3.9 x 6.04 m) exceeded the aircraft’s main cabin height of 4.4 m, so Ruslan’s load planners designed support cradles that enabled the load to be supported even after it had been rotated by 90°.
The load’s resultant offset (or eccentric) centre of gravity in the cargo cabin then required special approval from the aircraft’s designers, the Antonov Design Bureau. 5 t of additional equipment required to unload the equipment at its destination, thus had to be carried on a separate flight. The AN-124 aircraft flew the main cargo from Bergen to Busan via Helsinki, Novosibirsk (Russia) and Tianjin (China).
An Antonov AN-124 was again needed for a similarly challenging task – the movement of three giant winches for an offshore oil and gas project in the Caspian. The winches weighed a total of 92 t. The largest two each weighed no less than 34 t, were 5.5 m long and 3.6 m high. They were loaded aboard an AN-124 in Singapore using large mobile cranes and the aircraft’s purpose-built loading ramp. They were then flown 7,000 km to Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan), via Kolkata (India) and Mary (Turkmenistan).