February 29 -

The oil drilling equipment, which was 22 m (76 ft) long, was bound for Angola, West Africa.

"Right away, you start thinking 'what aircraft'?" states Harry Steiner, president of The Charter Store. "Most think immediately of the Antonov 124. We put our heads together and came up with a B747-400ERF to be a more cost efficient option than the AN124. We spoke to our air carrier and they were up to the task.

Steiner says that the freight was not only huge, bulky, and heavy but highly critical to the drilling operation that was waiting for it to arrive, adding that load specialists and ground handlers needed to think outside the box and be some what creative in getting this freight loaded, flown over to Africa, and unloaded safely and without incident.

"This wasn't your typical load and unload," says Steiner. "It required exceptional pre-planning and hand-in-hand work among all the parties (and crews) involved. Cranes were used to supplement the two pallet loaders during loading and offloading. A surveyor provided by our client was on scene to make sure all cargo is safely loaded and stowed inside the airplane in Houston. This was not your average cargo flight and it kept us all very busy for over a week. It was a great reward to see it all going so well in the end."