Ruslan International – the JV company that manages and markets the 17 AN-124 freighters belonging to its owners, Antonov Airlines and Volga Dnepr Airlines – has partnered with German charter broker Karpeles Flight Services (part of DB Schenker) to move a new AW101 helicopter from the UK to Africa.
AgustaWestland flew the helicopter from its Yeovil factory in the UK southwest to London Stansted Airport, where the manufacturer’s technicians dismantled the aircraft and stored it in a hangar ready for the flight. On a similar assignment in 2013, inclement weather conditions had led to the AN-124 being positioned partially inside the Diamond Hangar in order to protect the helicopter during loading; the same procedure was adopted for this latest movement.
The helicopter was transported from Stansted to Africa on a custom-built cradle specially-designed to enable the aircraft to fit into the AN-124. With an overall height of 4.38m, the helicopter on its transit chassis was a tight fit through the aircraft’s nose door, with only centimetres to spare. With the additional support equipment and spares, the entire load weighed a total of 60,000 kilos. The support equipment, which was provided by AgustaWestland, was subsequently returned to the UK by Ruslan International on another of its fleet.
At destination, the helicopter was offloaded using the AN-124’s onboard winches and internal cranes. An external crane was also sourced by Ruslan International (in conjunction with Volga-Dnepr Engineering & Logistics Centre) to assist AgustaWestland in assembling the helicopter over a three-day period, following its arrival.