July 25 - Ruslan International has loaded a 6.74 m diameter bearing ring into an Antonov An-124 and flown it from Germany to Australia.

The movement was organised on behalf of STL Logistics and Panalpina using one of the aircraft belonging toRuslan's partner Volga Dnepr

The bearing ring, for a mining machine, weighed in at only 12 tonnes including its steel transport cradle; just 10 percent of the aircraft's payload capability. However, its 6.74 metre diameter created a new challenge. The nose door opening of the An-124 is only 6.4m wide at floor level; so the load appeared too big even for this giant freighter. 

Equipped with a precise scale drawing from the shipper, Ruslan International's loading engineer Dmytro Kurko went to work to address the problem. His solution was to design and build a custom cradle which would allow the bearing ring to be loaded at an angle of exactly 20.1 degrees from horizontal. Even then, the CAD (computer-aided design) study predicted clearances of just 48 mm and 61 mm. 

The painstaking loading process took several hours; but all went to plan, and the flight successfully operated from Dusseldorf to arrive on schedule in Port Hedland, Western Australia. 

Says Paul Furlonger, sales director of Ruslan International: "When we first saw the details of this shipment, the immediate reaction was that it wouldn't fit. But we're accustomed to achieving the seemingly impossible, and our team performed their usual magic - resulting in another successful job."

You can see a film of the loading at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgc4sUGLhzk