Freight DogsFinally a forum for those midnight prowler types who utilise the unglamorous parts of airports that many of us never get to see. Freight Dogs is for pilots and crew who operate mostly without SLF.
Just before the good 'ol days ended at HLA we operated 20 flights using IL76 to move 35,000kgs of Gold per flight over a 3 month period, when the British Gov. saw fit to sell 80% of the UK Gold reserve to Germany.
5,000 cases of Budweiser and Xmas trees to Thule AB 54 thouroughbred race horses to Macau The "flycatcher" perimeter defense system to Ankara, Turkey Several long haired "fellows" and a non-descript white van from point A to point B
Wonder if anyone actually gets down this far apart from me - ah well - here goes. In the Belfast freighter everything that you could get on board was carried. Satellites to Canaveral and during the last Cypriot punch up, a cargo bay full of polystyrene packing. Absolutely full - no weight but bulked out. The worst one was when flying in the Middle East when we carried a homicidal maniac from France to Luxor. He tried to kill the flight crew three times, The first being on the ground in France then twice in the air approaching Cairo. Unfortunately he was the Captain. I left the company immediately afterwards and never flew again with that outfit. With another outfit - one that flies very old aircraft out of an airfield in the Midlands - the crew inadvertantly forgot to tell the g/crew in Spain that the forward hold was full of new tyres. They( the Spanish) signed as having received a full complement and the tyres went back to the UK. They wouldn't admit in Spain that they hadn't received them and they were off loaded until some time later when "allegedly" they were sold to a local garage. Couldn't possibly tell you who sold them.
Didn't fly it, but I reckon the strangest thing I've seen was a fully operational Main line Diesel locomotive for Irish Rail that was shipped across the Atlantic on on of the Russian heavy lifters (an AN124 I think).
It took quite some work to get it out of the hold and on to the transporter that took it through Dublin to the maintenance base.
As to why it was flown over rather than coming by ship, as the rest of the order did, we never found out the reason for that.
During GW1 the 3rd a/c into Dhahran carried approx 15 ton of sandbags (full!!). Waste of tax payers money?, nearly as bad as the VC10 full of NBC boots that when opened turned out to be jungle boots. Needless to say the went back on the same aircraft!!.
400kg of dried fish wrapped in hessian with what appeared to be an equal quantity of flies (it had been piled at the side of the strip in the sun for four hours waiting for me) - it must be the most disgusting thing I have ever smelt, flew the whole 2 hour flight (and the empty return) with the windows open and the aircraft reeked for days afterwards. Otherwise saline drips for a cholera epidemic supplied by the Indonesian government that were clearly marked as being 3 years past their sell by date, 45 gallon drums of diesel (not unusual until one splits in flight and you find two inches of diesel slopping around the rudder pedals), and ladders which are to long to fit in a 185 so you have one end sticking out of the front pax window and the other end out of the rear baggage door as if you had just picked them up from B & Q and are hoping the police won't spot you on the way home - the ladder made little difference to the aircrafts handling characteristics but when I repeated the experiment with rolled up sheets of corrugated aluminium roofing it flew like a pig!
Or as the aircraft was a kind of mini combi how about naked tribesmen covered in an inch of rancid pig fat to keep the cold out, or the guy with comound fractures of both thighs whose family simply bent his legs up as far as they could so there would be room for them to sit behind him on the flight to hospital.
Or the tribal passenger who decided he needed a dump in flight so he just let go in the back seat of a 185, with results that you can imagine. That last one actually happened to a colleague of mine and I p*ss myself laughing everytime I think of it (as I am doing now)!
Best I ever heard was during my days in the commercial dept at HeavyLift, where one of the sales team sold a flight to carry 100,000kgs of ice cream on an Antonov An124 Spain to UK. Of course a An124 is not a freezer and some of the ice cream melted, well most of it in fact, then the shipper decided to try and sue for the lost ice cream.
Of course you do not work at some where like HeavyLift without hearing the odd story or two, or three, four, well lots. Especially if Webby was around.
We had a body come in once, usually the funeral home comes to pick them up in a herse and it's all perfectly normal. There was this one guy that came in a beat up old dodge, got us to throw the stiff in the back and make sure it was secure 'cuz he had a long drive ahead of him' kinda a morbid thought - spend your last few hours above ground in the back of a pickup.