Huge cargo plane stops at Lincoln Airport
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – A unique feature at Lincoln Airport makes it the only option in the region for special delivery from Italy.
Three and a half kilometers long, the airport runway was the only one capable of accommodating one of the largest cargo planes in the world.
An Antonov-124 landed in Lincoln Thursday afternoon. It is a Russian-made cargo plane that is completely self-sufficient. With a crew of six in the cockpit and eight other managers on board, who live on the plane for months at a time.
“So the plane can actually be run entirely by its own crew,” said Chris Schumacher, vice president of air cargo at Fracht USA.
This is a landing that lasted 11 months to move equipment weighing more than 200,000 pounds across the ocean.
On Thursday, the plane delivered a massive boiler to be used at a factory in Sioux City, Iowa. The plane and cargo weigh over 93 tonnes and take up about two-thirds of a football field.
It started in Italy and made stops in Belgium, Iceland, Canada and Maine before heading to Lincoln.
“An airplane as big as this and with the cargo on board that’s that heavy, you need a long runway,” Schumacher said. “This is the longest runway we can use, the closest to the site. “
Schumacher’s crew has been coordinating the landing for a little less than a year. He had to find the plane, secure the cranes, research routes, and find roads large enough for the last 150 mile trip.
“One of the most important things this time of year is construction on the freeway, so everyone is trying to cut down on construction before winter comes on, so the routing is constantly changing and we just have to make sure it’s okay, ”said Jacob Hawthorne, a project supervisor.
Right now, he’s working on the final leg – coordinating with the Nebraska and Iowa entities for the driving portion of the trip.
“I was waiting for the Nebraska DOT to approve our route. We also need to schedule police and civilian escorts, we need to speak with local utilities to make sure everything is fine,” Hawthorne said.
This is one of three oversized rooms destined for this factory near Sioux City. The other two arrive in the United States by boat.
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