A giant Russian-built An-124 Antonov cargo jet loads four Eurocopter AS332L helicopters upgraded by Vector aerospace of Langley. The Antonov picked up the helicopters on Aug. 28 at Vancouver International Airport for shipment to Australia and Afghanistan.

Langley firm hires giant jet to haul helicopters

Russian-built An-124 Antonov cargo jet loads four Eurocopter AS332L helicopters overhauled by Vector Aerospace

Vector Aerospace in Langley hired one of the world’s biggest cargo jets to haul four upgraded helicopters to customers in Australia and Afghanistan.

On Aug. 28, the company loaded the four Eurocopter AS332L Helicopters aboard an An-124 Antonov at Vancouver International Airport.

The four-engine, 226-foot-long Russian-built Antonov is the third heaviest flying freighter in the world, able to carry more than 100 tons of cargo (The Boeing 747-8F freighter is number two and the Antonov An-225 is number one).

The four-and-a-half ton helicopters were updated by the Langley facility with new technology including safety enhancements such as night vision technology, cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders.

Two will be used on offshore oil rig servicing contracts in Australia and the other two are being sent to Afghanistan for utility operations.

“The fact that we are using a special aircraft such as the Antonov to expedite delivery to our customers is a testament to the importance of the roles these helicopters will play in their designated missions,” Vector vice-president of operations Elvis Moniz said.

Located at the Langley airport, the Vector helicopter repair facility carries out a wide range of major helicopter repairs, inspections and overhauls, including rebuilds and refurbishments, airframe and avionic refits and upgrades and custom interiors and modifications.

It is part of the larger Vector Aerospace company that operates facilities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, South Africa and Australia.

Vector Aerospace is planning a newer and bigger helicopter repair facility at the Langley airport, with a relocation from the current 66,000 square foot building to a 104,000 square foot building announced in February 2012.

The new building is expected to add a further 180 jobs, attract additional major investments and nearly double the technical activity and production of the airport.

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