Shipping a Helicopter Internationally? How Hard Could it Be?


It would seem that the simplest way to get a helicopter from point A to point B would be to fly it, but at times, this isn’t realistic and the helicopters have to ship internationally across oceans. International helicopter shipping and transport requires a huge amount of logistical strategy and resourcefulness – and at times, a great deal of patience. Take the word of Laurent Montignon, CEO of Sea Cargo Air Cargo Logistics Inc., and an industry leader in international Freight Forwarding.

Montignon’s company Sea Cargo Air Cargo Logistics has been shipping helicopters internationally for many years through many countries and over many oceans. He truly has seen it all in terms of the worst weather, international red tape and unbelievable situations from where cargo needs to be shipped to and from and yet he says “I love the challenge of shipping helicopters and overcoming all the odds to get my customer’s cargo where it needs to be,” says Montignon. “I had a client who needed a Bell 412 HP transported from Mumbai, India to Lima, Peru. It included a 40′ flat rack (airframe) a 40′ standard for tail boom, main rotor blades and transmission. The scope of responsibility was immense”, explained Montignon. “Loading a Bell twin engine medium helicopter in downtown Mumbai is tricky at best. Although I had good Bell engineers with me, they had not completed a project of such magnitude as this before,” explains Montignon.

With the 43 degree F weather during the day and the near-impossible task of coordinating two oversized trucks in the Mumbai traffic, the work could only be completed at night. In addition to managing the traffic, the power lines had to be raised to accommodate the flat rack which was over 14 feet tall. There is a great deal of logistics and planning that goes into shipping large-scale cargo like helicopters such as:

  1. Intensive communication strategies that need to be executed to open communications with local, national and international agencies involved from local police to border patrols and more.
  2. Closing down Intersections with tight corners, to allow for the large trucks to manoeuver.
  3. Special permits to request and issue to allow the general laborers hired to keep tree branches off the helicopter.

Montignon’s persistence prevailed and his team loaded the helicopter in two days. He sat on top of the helicopter as it transited Mumbai city streets at 5 kilometers per hour. It was then transported the 150 kilometers to port and loaded with a crane onto an ocean vessel. The helicopter arrived in Callao, Peru damage-free, on-time, and on-budget.

Another story that stands out for Montignon was an Air Bus Helicopter AS 350 B2 that SCACLI transported from Beamsville, Ontario Canada, to Honolulu, Hawaii with just a few stops in between.

Preparations were being made for the annual Helicopter Expo which is held every year in the United States; this particular year it was being held in Dallas, Texas. Montignon received a call from a Canadian client who had a buyer travelling from Hawaii to Dallas to purchase a helicopter.

“Being the proactive gentlemen that he was, he decided to bring a brand new AS 350 B2 to Dallas in anticipation of selling it to the Hawaiian buyer”, recalled Montignon. “This was an absolute beautiful machine, finished in a sharp pearl metallic black with white racing stripes. As with most helicopter shipping, the helicopter is dismantled for easier transport – blades are removed, the transmission is pulled, the tail boom comes off in order to make the helicopter smaller. “This was a unique case,” comments Montignon, “ because my client wanted to have the helicopter show up in Dallas without any dismantling or “breaking of the paint” which happens when you start to take things off.”

Montignon obliged with the request and by using a double drop air ride trailer, he travelled with the helicopter cargo approximately 3,500 kilometres from Beamsville to Dallas with only the main rotor blades removed, the whole time while protecting the machine from damage. Once in Dallas he stayed with the helicopter for 20 hours straight until it was their turn to move the helicopter from the marshaling yard into the convention center where his client had his trade show booth.

The hard work was worth it and his client sold the AS 350 B2 helicopter. That’s when the next round of work began. Montignon was approached by the new owner of the helicopter and inquired about having the helicopter shipped to Honolulu. He then had to take apart the helicopter, load it on a 20 foot airline pallet, truck the helicopter to Los Angeles, and then use the only 747 freighter into Honolulu. From start to finish, the SCACLI team was able to achieve a transit time from Beamsville to Honolulu, under 15 days, including all the trucking, the time at the show, dismantlement and loading.

SCACLI’s complete hanger to hanger process includes disassembly, specialized shipping fixtures, import and export certificates of air worthiness. They understand the special requirements and the difficult process of foreign customs, and assist with country specific importation solutions and temporary importations and carnets where applicable.

SCACLI ships Eurocopter, Bell Helicopter, Agusta, McDonnell Douglas Helicopter and Sikorsky machines from any point in the world to any destination.

SCACLI Helicopter services include:

  • Meticulous planning & damage deterrence
  • Disassembly,
  • All specialized shipping gear and fixtures,
  • Complete exportation (de-registration),
  • Export certificates of air worthiness,
  • All import requirements,
  • Re-assembly,
  • Import Certificates of Airworthiness
  • Registration in the applicable countries.
  • Complete supervision at loading and unloading of airport and seaports.

For more information on helicopter shipping and international freight forwarding, please visit

Sea Cargo Air Cargo Logistics Inc. is a Canadian-owned international freight forwarder that provides integrated logistics services in some of the worlds most challenging environments. Shipping demands and expectations are 24/7, 365 days a year and often unpredictable. SCACLI provides the responsiveness and flexibility of 24/7 service combined with creative solutions to fit its customers demands. For more information on freight forwarders or international shipping, importing or exporting, visit

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Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

We appreciate Sea Cargo for their valuable services for inbound sea freight and road transport.  Recently, we had to rush a shipment of a dangerous good to one of our facilities.  Sea Cargo was able to provide the necessary documentation accurately and arrange the courier to meet our very tight timeline.  It is a pleasure to work with professional top-notch people. They are prompt to return calls and e-mails and provide updates on our shipments and inquiries.

Jane J., National Procurement Manager
(major brewery)

Techflow Design & Manufacturing Inc.

As a company that manufactures and ships overseas, it would not have been made seamless without the help of Sea Cargo Air Cargo. Your team is always ready and willing to answer questions and to keep us informed with up to date regulations and changes. You strive to ensure that our freight arrives to its destination the best way possible without complication.

Mike B.
(design, manufacture and ship overseas)

Ray Jacobs Machinery Co.

(The) Sea Cargo Air Cargo team has handled our shipping requirements by all modes of transport throughout the world for 15 years now. Our equipment’s are most of the time dimensionally out of gauge and therefore not the easiest to ship. The Sea Cargo Air Cargo team … have proven themselves throughout the years to be extremely knowledgeable and competent regardless of how complicated our shipments may be. We… recommend them to anyone who requires an experienced and qualified project freight forwarder.

~Raymond J.
(metalworking machinery dealer and broker relocating equipment worldwide)

Team Machine Tools Inc.

Sea Cargo Air Cargo Logistics Inc has handled our shipping requirements for exports and imports throughout the world for many years now. All our cargo is shipped to some of the most remote places around the world and SCACLI was always able to source out an options for us….Their staff is able to accommodate all shipment no matter how complicated or to where in the world we need to send our equipment. I would highly recommend Sea Cargo Air Cargo Logistics Inc as an international freight forwarder and ship chartering experts.

Cam A., Sales Manager
(Relocate machinery and entire plants)

Innovative Steam Technologies

We have been utilizing the services of SCACLI for shipping our heavy lift and dimensional cargo overseas. This requires knowledge of dimensional rail transportation, technical knowledge at port of origin and destination as well as ship chartering. .. They are proactive in sourcing the best possible charter for our requirements and ensuring that it is monitored throughout the whole shipping process.

David L., P.Eng.
, Project Manager
(steam technology company)

Greg K.

We put SCACLI to the test numerous times – tight shipping windows, unusual cargo, challenging countries – they always exceed expectations.

~Greg K., Vice President
(interactive exhibitions worldwide)

Hockey Hall of Fame

"The Hockey Hall of Fame has been working with "scac" for years. Their service has always been reliable and a perfect fit for our needs"

Phil P.,
Hockey Hall of Fame


Sear Cargo Air Cargo team has handled our shipping requirements by all modes of transport throughout the world for 15 years now. Our equipment’s are most of the time dimensional out of gauge not the easiest to ship. The Sea Cargo Air Cargo team has always tried very hard to accommodate all our requirements. They have proven themselves through the years to be extremely knowledgeable and competent regardless off how complicated our shipments may be. We will continue to work with this team for many more years and recommend them regularly to anyone who requires an experienced and qualified project freight forwarder.

John V. D.,
(specialize in the buying and selling of used equipment)

Heather L.

We have had the pleasure to use Sea Cargo Air Cargo Logistics Inc to handle our shipping needs and export globally to some difficult areas. With their friendly staff, we are always confident that they will provide the most professional service and make sure that every aspect of shipping is handled properly.

With their resources and years of accomplishments it makes easy when choosing a freight forwarder to handle our shipments correctly and to the laws and regulations of shipping.

I would highly recommend Sea Cargo Air Cargo Logistics Inc as an international freight forwarder every time.

Heather L.
Director of Export

Wilcox Canada

Sea Cargo provides professional and courteous support to our customer service team along with our international distributors. As a freight agent the staff is efficient, detail oriented, and offers outstanding customer service support which is sometimes difficult to locate when exporting worldwide. We have all come to rely and depend on their knowledge and expertise in assisting with shipments and documentation to various countries allowing Richards-Wilcox to conduct smooth business relations with our international dealers.

Nadine F., Export Administrator
(garage door and hardware manufacturer)

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