How do Whales Fly?
UPS Solves Logistics Problem for Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta, GA (October 17, 2005) – Two Beluga whales were picked up in Mexico City by UPS Airlines and flown 1,331 miles to Atlanta today for delivery to the Georgia Aquarium. The relocation, handled jointly by the Georgia Aquarium and UPS Airlines, transferred the giant mammals from an amusement park in Mexico City. The whales are named Nico and Gasper. Each is about 12 feet long and weighs about 1,600 pounds. A Boeing 767 cargo jet was used for the move because of the special tank dimensions and the 26,000 pounds of combined weight once the tanks were filled with water and the whales. "The movement required engineering modifications to the aircraft's load floor to handle enormous custom tanks that locked in place," said Bland Matthews, the UPS Airlines loadmaster in charge of the move. "The success of this relocation took much of the experience and training I have in aircraft loading, weight and balance, as well as great teamwork." Matthews travels the world handling special moves for UPS, and usually oversees the loading of heavy equipment for military charter flights. He was pressed into service for Nico and Gasper to ensure their tanks would be secure on the plane and that the transfer could be performed safely. The placement of Nico and Gasper inside the aircraft was computed precisely to straddle the aircraft's center of gravity. Maintaining proper balance impacted how the whales were loaded onto the plane, where their tanks were locked into place as well as the aircraft's takeoff and landing speeds. The environmental controls on the main cargo deck were pressurized to simulate an altitude of 5,000 feet with an air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. UPS pilots flew as high as 37,000 feet to stay above any rough weather that might have caused undue stress for the whales. The UPS flight was flown by Capt. Bob Knight and Capt. Lou Casale, both management captains and flight training supervisors. After landing at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the whales were unloaded and secured to a custom-designed UPS trailer for a police escort to the Aquarium. The tractor-trailer was driven by Charlie Smith, one of UPS's Circle of Honor drivers with 30 years of safe driving. The Circle is reserved for men and women who have driven for 25 years or more without an accident. The Georgia Aquarium, financed by a gift from co-founder of The Home Depot Bernie Marcus and his wife Billi, through the Marcus Foundation, will open to the public November 23 as the world's largest aquarium. UPS is providing a number of in-kind services to support the hometown project, including the movement of Nico and Gasper and earlier this summer, the movement of two giant whale sharks named Ralph and Norton. ABOUT THE GEORGIA AQUARIUM The Georgia Aquarium will open in Atlanta, Georgia on November 23, 2005, as the world's largest aquarium facility. With more than 8 million gallons of marine and fresh water, and more than 100,000 animals of 500 different species, the Georgia Aquarium is a gift to the people of Georgia from Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, and his wife Billi, through the Marcus Foundation. The Aquarium will be overseen by a nonprofit corporation run by a board of directors. The mission of the Georgia Aquarium is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific institution featuring exhibitions and programs of the highest standards, offering engaging and entertaining visitors' experiences, and promoting the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Additional information on the Georgia Aquarium can be found at www.georgiaaquarium.org. ABOUT UPS UPS is the world's largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain services, offering an extensive range of options for synchronizing the movement of goods, information and funds. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., UPS serves more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. UPS's stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange (UPS) and the company can be found on the Web at UPS.com.