Antonov Airlines, Chapman Freeborn move 85-tonne oil-capping stack

Antonov Airlines and United Kingdom-based charter service Chapman Freeborn teamed up to successfully move a capping stack – an 85-tonne piece of equipment used in the event of an oil spill – in a single trip by air for the first time. The trip was made on behalf of Chapman Freeborn’s client, Oil Spill Response Limited.

Normally, the transportation of a capping stack equipment by air would mean breaking it down into multiple payloads and reassembling it at the destination. The successful one-off transport of the equipment by air, which would normally be moved via ship, means that oil companies can respond faster to stop oil spills more quickly.

“We faced a variety of challenges including limited clearance for the cargo, the weight and size of the capping stack itself and its effect on the flight, as well as the requirement to load it fully assembled, as would have to be the case in an actual oil spill scenario,” said Martin Griffiths, sales manager at Antonov Airlines.

The capping stack was moved on the deck of an An-124 on an 83-minute test flight out of Stavanger, Norway. Chapman Freeborn said it chose the aircraft for its ability to travel up to 5,000 kilometers with a 120-tonne payload and its self-loading and off-loading capabilities, which “remove the necessity for a main deck loader.”

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