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Aircraft Engine Transportation: What You Need to Know

June 1, 2022
 By Jacob Lee
Aircraft Engine Transportation: What You Need to Know
Last Modified: June 2, 2023
If you don’t know how to transport an aircraft engine, then have no worry. We’ll give you the knowledge you need to ensure your engine gets to its destination safely.

Figuring out the basics of aircraft engine transportation can be difficult if you’ve never had experience doing it before. If you’re not careful, the slightest mistake could be detrimental to your shipment and cost you a good deal of money. Therefore, knowing the best practices will be important to have a successful shipment.

The first thing to know about how to transport an aircraft engine is that you’ll need to find a carrier who will move your engine on a flatbed. Next, plan a safe route for the engine to travel since it will likely be oversized. HAZMAT and Oversized Load regulations need to be followed. Lastly, use proper loading procedures.

We’ll go into all the details you need to know about what you need to do to transport an aircraft engine throughout this article. 

How Aircraft Engines Are Transported

When an aircraft engine is transported by ground, a flatbed trailer hauled by a semi-truck is the mode of transportation that’s used. There are numerous types of flatbed trailers, all of which would be capable of carrying an aircraft engine.

These flatbed trailers are often equipped with an air-ride suspension system. Trailers that are equipped with this type of suspension absorb shockwaves much better than trailers without one. This in turn provides better protection to the freight that’s being hauled on the flatbed.   

Aircraft engines are a common commodity that is transported when aircraft on ground (AOG) shipping is required. When a plane is having engine problems and needs a replacement, AOG shipping is the fast shipping solution airliners require.

What Are The Types Of Aircraft Engines?

There are numerous types of engines that are used on aircraft. Each type of engine differs slightly in how they work and each is used for different types of aircraft. The engine types are:

  • Turboprop Engine
  • Turbojet Engine
  • Turboshaft Engine
  • Turbofan Engine
  • Ramjet Engine

Despite there being differences between each engine, the transportation procedures for each of them are the same.  

containers being loaded on a chassis

Planning Your Route

Airplane engines are large and oftentimes considered oversized loads. Before you can transport an aircraft engine, you will need to plan a route for your engine to travel. For example, routes that have sharp turns are too dangerous for oversized loads to travel on because the truck and trailers transporting them could turnover. 

Likewise, routes that go under bridges with low clearances are also avoided when routes for oversized freight shipments are made. You can either plan a route for your aircraft engine yourself or you can hire a 3PL to plan a route for you. 

At Heavy Haul and Oversized, we can plan a route and partner you with a reliable carrier where you can transport your oversized load. 

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From route planning to equipment selection, our logistics specialists help move your aircraft engine safely. Get a fast, personalized quote from our industry experts. 

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Aircraft Engine Transportation Paperwork: Preparations for Shipping

After planning a route, you will need to take care of some important paperwork before your aircraft engine can hit the road. You will need to take care of both oversized load and hazmat paperwork. 

Oversized Load Procedures

The problem with completing oversized load paperwork and regulations is that they vary from state to state. That means that you will need to abide by the oversized load standards in each state that your aircraft engine will travel through. 

Because the standards are different across states, it’s difficult to give an exact answer as to what constitutes an oversized load. That said, federal guidelines state that oversized loads have the dimensions of:

  • 8 feet, 6 inches in width
  • 13 feet, 16 inches in height (measured from the ground to the top of the load)
  • 80,000 pounds (this is the combined weight of the truck, trailer and the cargo being transported)

Depending on the state, an escort vehicle will need to accompany the truck transporting your aircraft engine. Some states even require law enforcement vehicles to accompany certain oversized loads that are extremely large. 

States that do require an escort to accompany freight will only require one to two escorts to be present. If your aircraft engine travels from a state that doesn’t require escorts into one that does, then the escort vehicle(s) will meet the truck shipping your engine at the border of each state. 

The most important part of an oversized load will be the permit itself. Oversized load permits contain information about freight such as:

  • Size of the freight
  • Weight of the freight
  • What type of freight
  • Destination 

As far as the cost of permits goes, the price is determined by the type of freight being hauled and which state(s) permits are being obtained from. Whether or not escort vehicles need to accompany the shipment also has a factor in how much the permits can cost. 

HAZMAT Procedures

Many shippers don’t realize that aircraft engines are considered hazardous materials. Since they’re considered HAZMAT, you will need to follow all of the necessary shipping procedures.    

The first thing you will need to do is classify the type of HAZMAT material that your aircraft engine falls into. Unfortunately, this part of the HAZMAT shipping process is the most important and difficult part to complete. 

The rest of the information about the HAZMAT materials is based on the information provided by the HAZMAT classification. Therefore, if your engine has the wrong classification, the rest of the information you provide will be incorrect. 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), shippers are also responsible for providing the some of the following information for HAZMAT shipments:

  • Providing the proper shipping name
  • Use of the proper identification number
  • Use of the correct hazard warning label
  • Shipping papers
  • Providing Emergency response information
  • Provide an Emergency response telephone number
  • Training
  • Certification
  • Blocking and bracing
  • Providing a placard
  • Security plane
  • Incident reporting

Heavy Haul and Oversized can not only help you find a carrier to transport your aircraft engine, but we can also guide you through HAZMAT and oversized load paperwork and regulations that you’ll need to follow. 

aircraft maintenance being done

Aircraft Engine Loading Procedures

Now that you have a route planned and have taken care of the paperwork, you can now focus on getting your goods loaded onto the truck for shipment. The loading process needs to be carried out as carefully as possible. While aircraft engines are large, they’re fragile and the slightest impact can cause them damage. 

Mounting the Engine Into A Cradle

Aircraft engines do not sit directly on the flatbed trailer transporting them. Instead, the engine is mounted into a cradle or engine stand before they’re loaded. These cradles offer extra protection to the engine while it’s being transported to its destination. 

For example, the cradles have shock mounts that allow them to absorb shockwaves similar to the way air ride suspension allows a trailer to better absorb shock. Mounting the aircraft engine to the cradle will be the first part of the loading process. 

Cover the Engine With A Tarp

After the engine has been placed into the cradle, the engine should be covered with a tarp. When you send an engine to a destination by ground, there’s a good chance the truck driver hauling it might run into some bad weather. 

Something as harmless as a drizzle could negatively impact the well-being of an engine. To prevent this, tarps are used to protect the aircraft engine from environmental hazards it might travel through.

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Crane or Forklift Loading

Now that your engine is mounted into a cradle and tarped, it can be loaded onto a flatbed trailer. Some aircraft engines can be loaded onto a flatbed truck using a forklift. The weight limit that a forklift can pick up is 3,000 pounds. 

Engines that weigh more than this will have to be lifted using a crane. Usage of a crane will require you to call a company that provides these services and then schedule a time for them to come to your business to load the engine. 

Securing Cradle To the Flatbed

The last part of the loading process that you need to complete is securing the cradle to the flatbed. There are a few openings in both aircraft engine’s cradle and on the edge of each side of a flatbed. These openings allow you to run straps or chains through them so you safely secure the aircraft engine cradle to the flatbed. 

Want to know about how to transport aircraft parts? Check out our article.

How Much Does It Cost To Transport An Aircraft Engine?

Aircraft engines are large, expensive and require a lot of gear to transport them to their destination. Not only that, but following the required regulations to transport them will cost you. To better illustrate the potential costs you may incur when you ship an aircraft engine, refer to the table below.

Costs To Transport An Aircraft Engine

Task Requirements To Ship An Aircraft Engine SuccessfullyCosts of Requirement
Oversized Load Permit$15 to $70
HAZMAT Permit Processing Fee$25
HAZMAT Permit$250 for small businesses or not-for-profit organization$2,575 for other registrants  
Crane Services$100-$300
3PL Services$25-$50 per hour

Let Heavy Haul and Oversized Help You Transport Your Aircraft Engine

At Heavy Haul and Oversized, we can provide you with the assistance that you need to ship an aircraft engine. With our long list of carriers we do business with, we guarantee that we can find you one that can safely transport your aircraft engine to its destination. 

We also offer consulting services if you have any questions about shipping an aircraft engine. Fill out your free quote or contact us today at (855) 490-2433 and discover all of the ways we can help you. 

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