Planning and permitting a complex move like this ordinarily takes 4-6 months. Because of the sensitive timeframe, Bennett made all the preparations in 4-1/2 weeks.
The 85-mile haul from Boeing’s facility in Missouri to MidAmerica Airport in Illinois where it would be tested took place overnight on back roads and closed highways at the average speed of 5 to 10 mph.
Planning and executing the run tested Bennett’s deep experience and know-how in hauling rocket and jet engines, aircraft and fuselages for large aerospace manufacturers.
Extra special care was used to haul the priceless MQ-25 prototype. Measuring 32-feet wide, 86-feet long, 17-1/2 feet tall and weighing 30,000 lbs., the bird was set by crane into a cradle that was secured to a stretch double-drop extendable trailer with removeable gooseneck (RGN).
Before and during the run, Bennett had to coordinate with state authorities, local municipalities, the Department of Transportation(DOT) and utility companies.
The haul took place after hours, which made it easier without traffic, but also harder because the massive convoy that included company escorts, troopers, Boeing’s team and a DOT representative traveled in the dark. St. Louis KMOV4 local news was there to cover the story. Watch the coverage.
The line of cars and trucks was preceded by almost a dozen utility trucks charged with moving or removing signs and signals, wires and any branch wider than a pinky finger. The team couldn’t risk anything damaging the skin of the MQ-25 during the journey. G-force monitors were used to prevent jolts and a wind speed monitor was used to keep combined wind speed to 30 mph.
One highlight of the team’s success was navigating the 32-foot wide drone through a pair of concrete levees that were 34 feet wide.
After the weeks of planning and a nerve-wracking 10 hours crawling through Missouri and Illinois, there was intense relief as well as a sense of pride as the MQ-25 arrived at the airport. “We pulled into the gate, and everybody was happy and high-fiving everyone. That’s when we knew we did a great job. It was all a team effort,” Wengerd recalls.
Bennett brings proven experience and dedicated management to aerospace trucking and logistics services all over the U.S. For more information on Bennett’s services for aerospace shipments, visit www.bennettig.com/aerospace/