This Bird Goes By Sea

 - September 29, 2006, 5:20 AM

Getting a giant helicopter like the Sikorsky S-61 from one continent to another offers a special challenge. Last year the helicopter shipping division of Panalpina had not one but five such tasks. The first three S-61s were shipped on RORO (roll on/roll off) ships between Halifax and Liverpool, England. The fourth, however, an S-61N, was headed to South Africa and no RORO vessels were available. So Richmond, British Columbia-based Panalpina arranged for the helicopter to land at the terminal in Charleston, S.C., where the blades were removed and the big bird was loaded into the hold of a breakbulk vessel headed in the right direction. Finally, the Canadian shipping specialist moved an S-61L (blades removed) by a fast container vessel from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Singapore, where it was reassembled and flown to Thailand.