Updated: May 26
We all know how much care is needed to ship an aviation product; depending on OEM specifications or in case of dangerous goods, you may be required to use different type of packaging materials (cardboard boxes, wood crates, ...).
What happens when you need to ship an entire helicopter at the antipodes of Switzerland?
In this case, the preferred practice is the Shrink Wrapping, which is commonly used on yachts being shipped around the world, and in the last few years applied also to the military and civil aviation industry thanks to cutting-edge materials, able to satisfy MIL specs and to withstand the most critical weather/temperature/humidity conditions.
The same procedure can be used also on critical items like engines, or to protect boxes containing expensive parts like blades, also for long term storage.
Horix became recently the only Swiss Aerospace Company able to offer this service; regarding the timeframe for the Shrink Wrapping, we can prepare an AW139 same class helicopter ready for pick-up in around 6 working hours.
Let’s go through the process:
The helicopter is prepared by an authorized Part 145: fuel tanks are emptied, blades are removed and properly stored in wooden containers; there’s no need to lift the the aircraft, this can remain on its wheels or skids.
Inside all enclosed spaces such as the cabin and luggage compartments we insert bags of desiccant clay according to MIL-D-3463E specification in order to prevent moisture from accumulating during the journey. The amount of desiccant units to be placed depends on the volume of the compartment.
The windows are protected first with a plastic film against scratches; we then apply the so called ARPACK, an air-bubble film with a layer of 12 microns of aluminium on all sensible or pointed areas, to both preserve them and avoid the shrinking film to tear apart when heat is applied. This specific material delivers the required protection, although being lightweight (around 250 grams for square meter).
The shrinking film is then cut in sheets with dimensions tailored to the application platform; this particular material is made of fully recyclable co-extruded LDPE, a Polyethylene film made of several layers of the same material, extruded in a single sheet, 210 microns thick, totally waterproof and UV-resistant; this is applied to the helicopter thanks to another specific polyethylene adhesive tape, which has the same thermo-retractable properties of the co-extruded LDPE.
The next phase is considerably critical, as the applied LDPE film has to be retracted using a propane hand gun, with a specific flame temperature, distance from the film and persistence, to obtain the desired result.
The attaching points of the helicopter, along with sensible areas like engines, radome and antennas are then marked with a warning tape for a careful handling.
Ready to ship!
Here are some pictures from our last Shrink Wrapping operations, and we are proud to offer this service to anyone interested, from Helicopter Owners to Operators and Maintenance Facilities, for shipment or long term storage.
If you need to ship an engine or an helicopter, or simply need to pack an aircraft for a long term storage, call us to find out more about our Program.
Contact us today and let our Team serve you.
Horix Aerospace. Easy, Trusted Process.