Interview With Joe Webster Of A1 Auto Transport – How Are Helicopters Transported?

Helicopters are amazing inventions, but how are they transported?


Today we’re going to hear from Joe Webster, an expert in heavy equipment shipping on how exactly big items like helicopters are shipped, and some problems that are faced along the way.


Let’s get started.


How are Helicopters Transported?


Cargo ships

The most obvious way to ship a helicopter is via cargo shipping.  Cargo ships are those enormous ships that you see holding many containers. It would be possible to take apart the helicopter so sensitive parts (like the blades) don’t get damaged during shipping.


The other reason to take apart the helicopter is simply due to its odd size. A smaller helicopter will likely fit into a container, but only if it is disassembled. Larger helicopters will likely be too large to fit into a normal container due to height, but it is possible to ship a container with the top exposed.


This does run the risk of damage, so you may want to avoid any risks during shipment due to the fairly high cost of the helicopter in question. Cargo shipping is also only going to make sense if you’re shipping internationally, otherwise, flatbed trucks would be the best transport method.                       


Flatbed truck

If you’re going domestic, it may seem obvious to fly the helicopter to the destination. If this however is a coast-to-coast transport in the USA, the journey is far too long for a helicopter. This means that to transport, you’re going to need to rely on a typical flatbed truck.


Flatbed trucks make it easy to transport a helicopter as you won’t need to disassemble the helicopter for shipping, making it super easy to handle logistically. This is how armies also move their machines to battle, no fancy transporting method, just the good ole flatbed truck!


Roll on/Roll off

Another form of shipping might be a roll-on/roll-off ship. The top of these ships normally have many vehicles on them, but it would also be possible to fly the helicopter and have it sit on top of the ship during transport.


This could be a cost-effective way of transporting a helicopter across the world.  The downside would be that the helicopter would be out in the open, and could potentially be damaged by weather or an accident.


Load on/Load off

Load on/Load off ships are just how they’re described, they’re loaded onto. They load their cargo via cranes, and this would be another great way to ship a helicopter.  One downside of lo/lo shipping is that shipping times can be much longer as the logistics of loading cargo can take some time.


The cost of lo/lo shipping is also higher due to the requirement of a crane operator. All of these factors come into play when deciding how to ship your helicopter in the best way possible. If you can go with a roll-on/roll-off ship, then it’ll be cheaper.



Air shipping would be another method of transport, and the most expensive on the list. Air shipping is often by weight, and a helicopter is going to cost quite a lot. It also is going to depend on if the helicopter in question has wheels.


If the helicopter can only be flown, then getting it inside of the plane is going to be quite a challenge. In these cases, the helicopter would need to be taken apart, which will take expertise and knowledge in shipping a helicopter.


Keep in mind, that air shipping is going to be astronomical in price. If possible, avoid air shipping unless you need the helicopter to be at its destination on a specific date, as air shipping is reliable and fast compared to cargo shipping.



Helicopter transportation is a complex process influenced by factors like size, destination, and budget constraints. The interview with Joe Webster, a heavy equipment shipping expert, sheds light on different transportation approaches.


Cargo shipping, suitable for international transport, may involve helicopter disassembly for safe shipping, particularly when protecting sensitive components like blades. For domestic transport, flatbed trucks offer practical and efficient logistics, especially for coast-to-coast journeys in the USA.


Roll on/Roll off and Load on/Load off ships present alternative options, each with its pros and cons. Roll-on/roll-off shipping can be cost-effective but exposes the helicopter to weather and accident risks, while load-on/load-off ships, though more secure, may have longer shipping times and higher costs due to crane operators.


Air shipping, the costliest option, is fast and reliable but depends on helicopter size and the possibility of transportation in one piece or disassembly.


In conclusion, choosing the right method for helicopter transport demands careful consideration of factors like budget and timeline. Each method has its advantages and challenges, necessitating an informed decision for the safe and timely delivery of these valuable machines.