There are dozens of ways in which helicopters can perform lift and transport services. Most of the time, helicopter long lines can assist a helicopter with lifting most things under a couple of tons without the aid of another helicopter. If you are considering renting out your helicopter as a means of cargo transport, you should familiarize yourself with the various long lines available, and what each type of long line is able to lift and carry once it is attached to your helicopter.
Military Slings and Lines
If your local military branch wants to conduct some training exercises in the middle of nowhere, and they want to remove their jeeps and hummers from the equation, they may hire you to move their supplies to a designated drop zone. For that, you are going to need at least one military sling and at least four to military-grade long lines. With adequate slings and lines, you can transport a few tons of supplies in a freight crate, or you can carry a second helicopter, inverted, to the finish line of a training exercise. However, you have to have military-grade lines and slings in order to be in compliance with the military's service requests.
Dielectric lines allow you to transport metal objects safely through storms and electrical fields. Most of these lines, when new, can transport up to five thousand pounds. Their lift ability diminishes after the first five years or so. Investing in these lines will allow you to perform more work even when there is thunder and lightning out, and take on odd jobs, such as transporting large electrical transformers and equipment, to an electrical construction zone. The lines themselves absorb any electric shock, including lightning, which prevents you from being electrocuted and prevents your copter from being short-circuited while hovering in the air.
Heavy Lift Long Lines
Out of all the long lines you may want and need to purchase, these are the ones you will use the most as a helicopter transporter of heavy goods. Some of these lines are steel cable, but most helicopter transporters prefer the synthetic long lines, which are just as capable of lifting the same amounts. The smallest load carried by these lines is just under twelve thousand pounds (about five-and-one-half tons), while the maximum load is thirty-six thousand pounds (or eighteen tons).
Better still, the dressed synthetic long lines prevent cutting and chafing of your hands and of the items you are transporting as they swing through the air during flight. In the event of an emergency, and you find that you need to cut the load to save yourself and the helicopter, the synthetic lines may be released via a sharp knife. It takes time to do that, so you may want to consider the quick-release helicopter long line accessories for these heavy lift lines.
Light to Medium Lift Lines
These lines are best used for lighter loads. Typically, if you have a customer or client who wants you to airlift a car or truck into the wilderness of Alaska (as an example!), then you would use these light to medium lift lines. The least load managed by these lines is around twenty-four hundred pounds, with the maximum lift weight around eighty-three hundred pounds.
With that, you can lift the standard passenger vehicle all the way up to a small pickup truck. If you add a military sling, you can transport a ton of lumber away from a logging camp. You could also haul a very heavy load of bricks to a construction zone where cars and trucks cannot find a road to get to the appointed destination.