FreightWaves Flashback: NASA’s historic chopper haul

The many industries that make up the world of freight have undergone tremendous change over the past several decades. Each Friday, FreightWaves explores the archives of American Shipper’s nearly 70-year-old collection of shipping and maritime publications to showcase interesting freight stories of long ago.

The following are excerpts from the February 1965 edition of the Florida Journal of Commerce. David A. Howard, the founder of Howard Publications Inc., launched the Florida-based maritime and trade publication in 1959 following the success of the Jacksonville Seafarer Magazine in 1952. He and his son, Hayes H. Howard, went on to expand the Florida Journal of Commerce nationally in 1974, rebranding it as American Shipper. FreightWaves acquired American Shipper in July 2019.

Click here to view the entire edition of the Florida Journal of Commerce – February 1965.

Chopper makes 1,000-mile haul

A large dummy section of NASA’s Apollo spacecraft lunar excursion module (LEM) adapter has been delivered to Cape Kennedy in a precedent-shattering trip by helicopter from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

A two-and-a-half ton, 30-foot-high simulated space vehicle “garage,” built in Tulsa by North American’s Space and Information Systems Division for NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas was transported by a U.S. Army CH-47A Chinook jet helicopter on the 1,000-mile journey across six southern states to the future moon-launch pad at Cape Kennedy.

The cargo was the bulkiest known article lifted by helicopter and represents the longest heavy cargo delivery, according to North American traffic engineers.

The test article simulates the weight and shape of the lunar excursion module adapter – that portion of the Apollo spacecraft which serves as a “garage” for the LEM during the early stages of the journey to the moon. The LEM will land two astronauts on the moon’s surface and return them to the orbiting Apollo command module.

The Apollo spacecraft is being built under the technical direction of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center.  The dummy module is manufactured of aluminum sheet metal.

The Army helicopter made the trip from Tulsa to Cape Kennedy in five legs with stops at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Mississippi, Fort Benning, Georgia, and Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida. It required approximately 16 hours of flight time with two overnight stops at Columbus Air Force Base, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida.

The Vertol helicopter cruised at an altitude of 2,000 feet at an average speed of 90 miles an hour. The Office of the Chief of Transportation, Department of Continental Army Command and Army Material Command cooperated on conducting the test.

Refrigerated trailers supply food to Grand Bahama from Florida

An expanded trade program has begun for Tropical Shipping and Construction Co. of West Palm Beach.

According to comptroller B. B. Sory, the firm, owned by Birdsall Construction Co, of Palm Beach, put into service in January four new refrigerated trailers which will carry cargoes of frozen foods and produce to Grand Bahama Island.

The company has been hauling construction materials and freight in flatbed trailers and household furnishings and canned goods in enclosed trailers to Grand Bahama from the Port of Palm Beach for two years.

To be added shortly to the company’s facilities is a new 223-foot, 550-net ton LSM capable of carrying six 40-foot trailers. It is expected with the addition of the new vessel, trade will extend to other islands of the Bahamas and further south into the Caribbean.

Tropical Shipping is the major importer of food for Grand Bahama Island. Its increased business is a direct result of recent development there.

Cargoes have been carried by the Tropical Ace, a custom-built ship on the order of an LSM. The 125-foot long, 95-ton vessel makes about 100 trips a year to Grand Bahama.

The roll-on, roll-off shipping company also does construction work on the island as its name indicates. It is currently laying water mains at Freeport for the Port Authority.

Ship lays cable to Virgin Islands

A $19 million cable ship, the CS Long Lines, paid a quick visit to this port [Everglades] en route to Vero Beach from where the unique vessel laid underwater telephone cables to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

The Long Lines, owned by Transoceanic Cable Ship Co., a subsidiary of AT&T, and chartered to Isthmian Lines, Inc., has three cable tanks with a capacity of 2,000 nautical miles of armorless cable. There are also four auxiliary tanks for storing up to 100 miles of repair cable. Company officials said cables laid from Vero Beach to St. Thomas still transit 128 conversations simultaneously. By comparison, earlier systems could handle only 36 calls at one time.

The 17,000-ton vessel was built to expand the network of submarine telephone cables. AT&T’s Long Lines Department, the long-distance operating unit of the Bell Telephone System, will put down 16,000 miles of cable during 1964-65. The vessel will also be used to help maintain 29,000 miles of ocean cable now in service, officials said.

The ship agent for the vessel was Port Everglades Terminal Co.