Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Russian Air Freight Carrier's First Cross Polar Cargo Flight

Live Load Takes The Shortest Route
Shipping News Feature

US – RUSSIA – It was almost a case of the cow jumping over the moon for Russia’s largest air freight carrier AirBridgeCargo Airlines when the company saw one of its aircraft pass directly over the North Pole for the first time en route from Chicago to Krasnoyarsk. Onboard the Boeing 747-400 freighter was a very special ‘passenger’ load, 175 Angus bred heifers, weighing а total of 104,000 kilos. The animals landed safe and sound at Krasnoyarsk’s Emelyanovo Airport from where they were transported to a local breeding farm.

This type of flight requires a high level of expertise from its crew as it differs enormously from a regular flight operation. Cross-polar traffic is subject to zero wind conditions and can face satellite navigation system errors, radiation hazards and disrupted radio contact. Given these challenges, AirBridgeCargo chose one of its most experienced pilots for the operation, Chief Pilot Oleg Trotsenko, who has participated in cross-polar flight tests since 1997 and who commented:

"For each pilot, opening and deployment of this new air path is a challenge. At AirBridgeCargo we have an experienced team of highly-skilled flight crew capable of undertaking such flights.”

Tatyana Arslanova, AirBridgeCargo Airlines’ Executive President echoed his sentiments and explained the advantages of the route saying:

“AirBridgeCargo sees the benefits provided by cross-polar flights for the growth of the transit potential of our country. This route allows for savings in both time and fuel consumption and we do hope that it will be popular with our customers.”

Photo: The U.S.S.R.'s first scientific expedition to the North Pole, SP-1, during which the expedition led by Ivan Papanin (second from right) lived for nine months on a drifting ice floe.