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Aerospace Shipping: Insider Tips for Safe Transportation

March 16, 2022
 By Jacob Lee
Aerospace Shipping: Insider Tips for Safe Transportation
Last Modified: June 2, 2023
Transporting aerospace is a delicate process that requires logistical support. With our tips, you will be able to transport your equipment anywhere in the country.

Transporting aerospace equipment is a very difficult task for anyone to undertake. From choosing the transportation method you use down to preparing your equipment for shipment, there are many factors that you will have to consider. As a logistics provider that has helped numerous customers transport aerospace equipment and other types of freight, we know the importance of having a good transportation plan.

Transporting aerospace equipment is a much easier task to complete when you follow these simple steps: 

  1. Determine transportation method (AOG, Parcel, Heavy or High-Value Shipments)
  2. Inspect Equipment for Transport
  3. Check Compliance Regulations
  4. Handle Customs Regulations
  5. Get Permits If Needed
  6. Obtain Insurance for Shipments

Transporting aerospace equipment will be much less challenging after you have learned the details of each of these steps. 

airplane wing on a truck

What Is Aerospace Equipment?

The aerospace industry takes part in many different activities inside and outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Aerospace equipment consists of any parts that are used on aerial vehicles or weapons. Some examples of equipment that the industry uses are:

Aerospace equipment like the ones above serve a very important purpose that aids the vehicles and weapons that they’re installed on. If the equipment arrives damaged, then the vehicle or weapon won’t be able to function properly once it’s put to use. 

A vehicle or weapons system that has equipment that doesn’t work could be detrimental to the health of aerospace workers. Therefore, aerospace equipment mustn’t suffer any damage when it's transported.  

transporting aerospace equipment

How Is Aerospace Equipment Transported?

Aerospace equipment can travel over sea, air and land. Smaller pieces of equipment can be transported by plane. As for equipment that is overweight and oversized, cargo ships and trucks have to be used instead.  

When aerospace equipment is hauled by land, the right type of trailer must be used during the transportation process. The best type of trailer to use when oversized and overweight freight needs to be transported is the opened deck trailer. This open deck trailer has different variations, all of which are great for transporting massive loads of freight

One open deck trailer that is often used to transport oversized and overweight freight is the lowboy. As the name implies, the lowboy trailer is lower to the ground and some variations of it are extremely long. Some other types of open deck trailers are:

  • Flatbeds
  • Removable Goosenecks
  • Step Deck 
  • Sliding Axle

An open deck trailer isn’t enough to keep aerospace equipment safe when it’s transported by ground. The freight also has to be firmly secured to the trailer that supports the equipment.

Another thing that you should be aware of when using open deck trailers is that your aerospace equipment will be exposed to the weather. Unless your equipment can survive rain and snow, then you should use a tarp to protect it on its journey. 

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How to Transport Aerospace Equipment

Moving aerospace equipment can seem daunting at first. Thankfully, there are a few services that you can utilize to transport your equipment that will be useful in a variety of circumstances.

AOG Freight

Aircraft on-ground (AOG) shipments are one form of aerospace transport that you can use when you need to get equipment to a destination fast. Usually, an AOG shipment will be requested when an aircraft is in dire need of parts to become operational. 

Since AOG shipments have to be done fast, they’re shipped by air most of the time. The downside to AOG shipments is the costs that you’ll incur when you make one. To get your aerospace parts to a destination in only a matter of hours means that you will have to pay extra fees to expedite your shipment.  

Small Package or Large Package Shipping

If the aerospace equipment that you have is less than 150 pounds then you can transport it by air as a small parcel. These shipments can be transported by air or using a carrier to ship the equipment on the ground. 

Using this shipping method is much more beneficial when you're not held too tight time constraints. Another added benefit of using this shipping method is that you won’t have to pay extra fees to get your freight expedited. 

Shipping your aerospace equipment in a package is fairly simple. All you have to do is pack your freight securely within a package and then get a label for it. The carrier or air provider will be able to handle the rest for you. 

Routine Heavy Freight Shipments

This method is a great one to use when the aerospace equipment you need to transport are oversized, overweight or both. Aircraft engines and landing gears are among the many kinds of aerospace equipment that have these characteristics. 

The handling of heavy shipments of aerospace parts has to be done carefully because of how delicate they are. The transit time for shipments like these is typically longer for two main reasons. 

For one, organizing oversized and overweight shipments require a lot of planning and logistical support. These shipments must be transported along routes that are safe and will not cause harm to the freight itself. 

Secondly, transit time will be longer if the aerospace parts have to be transported internationally by ship. Given that ports are backed up and shipping delays are plaguing the industry, it’s possible it could take months for your parts to arrive. 

The costs for transporting oversized and overweight aerospace parts will vary depending on how difficult the project is to achieve.

aircraft wheels

Preparing Equipment for Transportation

When you’ve determined which type of shipping method works best for your aerospace parts, your next step is to prepare it for transportation. This part of the transportation process is extremely important. Transporting aerospace equipment carelessly will put the equipment and the people handling it at risk. 

  1. Inspect Equipment and Its Route

The first thing you should do when you prepare your aerospace equipment for transportation is to assess the equipment itself. This includes taking into consideration its components and what forces could potentially cause damage to it. 

Some aerospace equipment might have fluids that need to be drained. Others could have electrical systems and batteries that need to be disconnected before being transported.

Not all aerospace equipment is the same which means that the preparation measures that you take will vary from part to part. Once you have assessed the needs of your aerospace equipment, you should then work closely with your carrier on the logistics regarding your freight. 

For oversized and overweight aerospace equipment, you will need to carefully plan how you will get your equipment from its starting location, onto a truck and then to the final destination. Handling oversized loads is much more difficult than normal types of freight. 

Typically, cranes have to be used to lift oversized freight onto a trailer. Planning out the right route for an oversized load of aerospace equipment is vitally important as well. Oversized aerospace freight won’t be able to travel down routes that will present clearance issues or other obstructions like low-hanging trees and powerlines.

Routes that are filled with many sharp turns and extreme curvature should be avoided as well. These types of routes could be unsafe for oversized loads as well as for the driver transporting your freight. 

Your carrier will already understand the importance of using a good route. Nonetheless, you should still communicate with them what your concerns are for your freight. 

  1. Check Compliance Regulations

Having required documentation when you transport aerospace equipment will save your aerospace transport a lot of trouble in the long run. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has numerous regulations in place for moving aerospace equipment that you will need to follow. 

Regulations can vary depending on the type of aerospace equipment that you are transporting. 

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) covers all of the regulations that the FAA has for aerospace vehicles and equipment. Once you have opened Title 14, all you have to do is locate the regulations for your aerospace equipment within its chapters and subchapters.

Hazmat aerospace equipment will also need the appropriate documentation. For example, combustion engines that are used in aircraft would be considered hazmat. Regardless of the aerospace equipment’s function, you must provide the following information for any shipment that is a hazmat according to DOT:

  • Shipping papers with a description of the item
  • UN identification number
  • The correct shipping name
  • The hazard class of the item.
  • Packing group
  • Quantity of the item being shipped
  • Number and type of packages if applicable
  • Emergency contact information
  • Certification from the shipper 
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  1. Customs Compliance for International Shipments

If you’re shipping aerospace equipment outside of the country, you will need to adhere to a whole other set of regulations. Just like with domestic transportation, the regulations will vary across different types of equipment. Many of these regulations are overseen by Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Different countries also have their own regulations for what type of items come into their country that you will also have to account for. There will likely be tariffs and customs duties that you will have to pay as well. 

International shipments are typically the most complex because of all the different modes of transportation that have to be used. At the very least your aerospace equipment will be transported using a truck and cargo ship. 

  1. Receive Permits or Clearances

Once you have determined the national and international regulations for shipping aerospace equipment, you will need to obtain any required permits, clearances and paperwork. Having all these items will indicate to the relevant authorities that you have followed regulations placed on your aerospace equipment. 

  1. Consider Insurance

Even after taking the necessary precautions, there are still many things that are out of your control once your equipment enters transit. The cost of aerospace equipment and the aerospace transport services to move it is fairly high. 

Transporting aerospace equipment costs around $2.30 to $10.00 per mile. However, shipping aerospace equipment could cost over $10.00 per mile the larger the equipment is. The table below will give you an idea of how much it will cost to transport aerospace freight across shipping zones

Costs to Transport Aerospace Equipment

Shipping ZonesCosts Per-Mile $2.30-$10.00
50$150.00 - $500.00
51-150$117.30 - $1,500
151-300$347.30 - $3,000
301-600$692.30 - $6,000
601-1,000$1382.30 - $10,000
1,001-1,400$2,302.30 - $14,000
1,1401-1,800$3,222.30 - $18,000
1,801 - $4,142.30

As the table shows, moving aerospace equipment is expensive. Additionally, any damage that your aerospace equipment sustains is sure to affect your budget for the shipment. Having insurance on your aerospace equipment will give you some extra financial protection.  

Transporting Aerospace Equipment With Heavy Haul and Oversized

If you’re having trouble finding a reliable carrier that is capable of transporting your aerospace equipment, let Heavy Haul and Oversized do it for you. We have partnerships with carriers that have experience shipping all types of freight. 

For example, the carriers we partner with can perform hazmat, heavy haul and flatbed freight shipping. Most importantly, you can count on the carrier you use to take care of your aerospace equipment. 

Let Heavy Haul and Oversized get to work at finding your carrier by starting your free quote. You can give us a call today at (855) 490-2433 for more information from an experienced professional today.

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