The wheeled loader was winched onto the An-124 at Riverside Air Force Base, Riverside County, California, and flown to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolin
The special cargo loader weighed 109,000 kgs. At 33.13 m long, 6.08 m wide and 3.44 m high, it was one of the largest and heaviest pieces ever carried in the giant An-124, and fitted the aircraft with only 10cm clearance.
Ruslan international – the joint venture company which manages and markets the 17-strong fleet of Antonov An-124 aircraft belonging to its shareholders Antonov Airlines and Volga Dnepr Airlines – has handled the movement of a massive deck loader for the Boeing 747 Dreamlifter.
The special cargo loader –which is used for loading and unloading 787 parts from the 747 Dreamlifter – weighed 109,000 kgs. At 33.13 m long, 6.08 m wide and 3.44 m high, it was one of the largest and heaviest pieces ever carried in the giant An-124, and fitted the aircraft with only 10cm clearance.
The wheeled loader was winched onto the An-124 at Riverside Air Force Base, Riverside County, California, and flown to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina – a distance of 1,900 nm / 3,500 km.
The Boeing Dreamlifter is a modified 747-400 passenger aircraft, and is the primary means of transporting major Boeing 787 Dreamliner assemblies from suppliers around the world to the 787 final assembly plant in Everett, Washington State. Four Dreamlifters are in operation.
About Ruslan International:
The company was formed in July 2006 as a joint venture of Antonov Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Airlines, to provide marketing of both airlines’ An-124 fleets (which total 17 aircraft) with the aim of optimising their utilisation.
The decision to streamline and centralise the marketing function stemmed from the two carriers’ already successful collaboration in the 'Ruslan Salis' operation - a joint project that continues to provide NATO with a dedicated aircraft from each fleet. The cooperation was further driven by the need more efficiently to serve the ad-hoc charter market, as well as satisfy existing long-term contracts requiring the allocation of significant portions of both carriers' fleets.
The Ruslan International concept has now evolved further, enabling the two airline partners to pool spare parts and loading equipment, as well as acting as the vehicle for both airlines’ efforts to resurrect production of the An124 - thus safeguarding the future availability of this unique aircraft.
Both airlines retain their separate and distinct identities, and the 17-strong combined fleet of An-124 aircraft continues to operate in the liveries of the individual aircrafts’ respective owners.
Ruslan International comprises five key departments:
Responsible for flight-watch, permit applications and the scheduling of both fleets.
Responsible for handling charter enquiries, price negotiations and contracts.
Responsible for the after-sales coordination of all flights.
Responsible for pre-flight cargo preparation and planning.
Responsible for flight routing and flight planning procedures.
About the An-124:
The Antonov An-124 “Ruslan” was first flown for military purposes in 1982, and civil certification was issued in 1992. The aircraft was manufactured in parallel by the Russian company Aviastar-SP and by the Kyiv Aviation Plant AVIANT, in Ukraine. The last airframe was completed in 2004, but plans are now afoot to re-start production.
Externally, the An-124 is similar to the American military Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, but has a 25% larger payload. An-124s have been used to carry a wide variety of loads including railway locomotives, ocean yachts, aircraft fuselages, B777 engines, and even the occasional elephant. The An-124 is able to kneel to allow easier front loading. The cargo compartment of the An-124 measures 36.5m x 6.4m x 4.4m and the maximum payload is 120,000 kg.
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