Antonov Airlines has completed the 12th in the longest succession of AN-225 flights, transporting generator modules from Chile to Bolivia.
The Ukrainian airline delivered 12 Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) Modules, each weighing 160 tonnes for Hansa Meyer Global Transport in 12 consecutive flights.
Antonov Airlines commercial director, Andriy Blagovisniy says the lifting points had to be reworked as the initial configuration of the cargo did not allow its loading on the aircraft.
He says: “The amended design, which featured bolted joints, allowed us to remove the lifting points from the cargoes when they were installed on the loading ramp, which in turn reduced the cargoes’ height.
“Upon arriving at the destination, we pulled the cargoes out to the loading ramp, and the specialists on-site reinstalled the lifting points on their initial positions, tying them with bolts for subsequent lifting and offloading using external cranes.”
Blagovisniy says a special low-profile loading system designed by Antonov Company specialists was used to handle the height of the cargo.
He says: “Special damping panels and reverse bend technology were introduced to tackle the weight distribution of the cargo.”
Antonov secured the cargo inside the aircraft with a special lashing pattern, developed specifically for the project that allowed for welding of a calculated number of lashing points and winching points for the cables of the aircraft winches.
Blagovisniy says: “As Chimore Airport does not have provisions for night time operations and flights, the entire process, including the unloading of the cargo and the departure of the aircraft, had to be completed strictly during daylight hours.”
Additional equipment for aircraft servicing and cargo unloading, including a ground power unit and a forklift had to be delivered in Chimore, Bolivia.
Antonov transported its own towing tractor from Gostomel Airport in Kiev, Ukraine to Chile to ensure suitable aircraft towing throughout the 12 flights as there was no tractor with the required power available at Iquique Airport.
Blagovisniy says: “This project saw the highest level of expertise and coordination between personnel of all partners participating in the AN-225 operation and unloading of the aircraft, allowing flights to keep to our tight schedules.”