ACS moves quickly to put the Hulk back together again

27 / 10 / 2017

Hurricane Irma created widespread destruction as well as tragic loss of life across parts of the Caribbean and Florida in September.

The response to it was multifaceted, including aircraft charter brokers being asked to organise capacity for aid being flown to the region as a matter of emergency.

Air Charter Service (ACS) arranged one particular charter that offered a little light relief from the intensity of other aspects of the aid effort; it was asked to find the capacity to carry a new pair of arms for the Incredible Hulk-themed roller coaster in Miami, Florida.

Richard Thompson, president of ACS Americas, explained: “We had evacuated hundreds of people prior to Hurricane Irma hitting, and have arranged many relief flights with goods such as shelter kits, water bottles and ration packs for the victims left homeless by it since, but this charter was a little different.

“At Universal Orlando one of the most popular rides is The Incredible Hulk Coaster. At the entrance to the ride there is a huge statue of Hulk holding one of the roller coaster’s cars aloft – the arms of which Hurricane Irma managed to rip off.

“In order to reopen the ride as soon as possible, we were asked to charter an aircraft from Milwaukee – where the arms could be manufactured – to Orlando,” Thompson continued.

“We sourced a Falcon 20 aircraft to carry the two crates (one per arm) that were almost two metres long and weighed 180 kg each.

“We often get weird and wonderful charter requests, but not usually in the wake of a disaster, such as a hurricane!” he concluded.

As long ago as 10 October, ACS was able to confirm that it had operated more than 130 flights in response to the hurricanes that had ravaged the Caribbean and southern US.

Chief executive Justin Bowman explained: “Our US offices were already busy arranging charters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas when Hurricanes Irma and Maria left a path of destruction across the Atlantic Basin.

“We are still arranging charters every day to send aid to those affected,” Bowman added at the time.