Overnight-package carriers FedEx, UPS and Airborne Express use big jets to move cargo between major hubs and rely on smaller piston and turboprop airplanes, such as the Cessna Caravan, to service outlying airports. Packages, which are shipped in containers on the cargo jets, must be removed from the containers and placed on pallets for loading into the smaller airplanes.
Freight Feeder Aircraft supplier Metalcraft Technologies restarted production of detail parts for the FF5000 fuselage in February. The first detail parts are formed exterior skins and the machined floor-section keel beams. The FF5000 is a larger version of the original Freight Feeder design and can fit standard M-1-size cargo containers as well as standard-size pallets.
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.
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