Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Tightest Bricks In the Shipping Business

Last post we showed you a typical Bricksburgher's departure from our little plastic paradise.  Today's post won't be quite as "storied" but it will show you the main parts of the "air cargo machine" at work.
As we dive into the dirtier and less flashy side of the airport, here's a quick look at a heavy cargo aircraft which has just landed.
Let's start with the basics.  The air cargo (freight) side of the airport is mostly located at the end of the left runway.  However, all aircraft use all runways as directed by the controllers and the airport complex itself actually does have traffic gates on either side of the terminal.   The facility as a whole is quite integrated including the space-related complex housed in the middle of the airport complex, which generates quite a bit of passenger and cargo traffic on its own!
The main distribution and sorting center for all air cargo is this warehouse on site.  Everything gets processed through this facility regardless of whether it is for local delivery or just changing planes.  Mail and residential packages will also go through this building but are then picked up here by their respective Bricksburgh services.
Being located right between one of the main runways and the main access road to the airport complex is very useful for getting shipments in and out in a timely manner.
Though most of the sorting will occur within the small warehouse, a lot of the staging and preparation for shipments is done in the large parking pad outside.  From here, the forklifts can unload and load aircraft more quickly than if they had to delicately work around the building itself.
Peeking through the warehouse's sliding door at the forklift outside...He seems to like his work.
Though small inside, the warehouse does have a nice office area with integrated computer systems and room for sorting the various boxes and crates that need to be processed here.
The jet ramp on the air cargo side of the airport is also the best location to do quick repairs and maintenance.  Most aircraft have their work done while at larger airports with dedicated facilities but sometimes problems have to be fixed before the aircraft is safe to fly again.
One of the airline's forklifts is shuttling over shipping containers that were just off-loaded from a passenger flight.
All airports have their staging areas for extra equipment and empty shipping containers-- ours is no different, well... except for the skull.   Hmmm.... probably a story there....
The largest cargo aircraft is this one.  It can carry an impressive load and features an articulated tail for loading big items.  We've even had cars flown in on this aircraft (though it is a tight squeeze and an expensive way to get cars onto the island!)
Another view of the heavy cargo jet as it taxis down the runway after landing.  In the distance you can see the air cargo facilities and another jet getting repaired.
The airlines have their own cargo/mail/freight operations but at Bricksburgh Airport they work very closely with the main cargo staff and share a lot of equipment.  Here you can see a high-lift truck (aka elevator truck) on its way out of the security gate to make deliveries downtown.  Usually these deliveries are for items that are unusual or otherwise shipped separately from the main postal service.

 If you'd like to see the video version, click on over to our YouTube channel-- or you can find it here:  New Airport Tour 2014.

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