In thinking about how bad the soil is this winter, and how many times my neighbor has gotten bigger and bigger tractors stuck in what looks like perfectly serviceable and compacted soil, I started to think about other methods for getting the containers moved to where I want them.  A winch was one such component, but even finding a winch big enough to drag the containers an appreciable distance (I don’t want to do this 2 ” at a crank with a come-along), requires a winch on the order of a small tractor.  Which we already know has a propensity to sink into the muck, which I don’t want to do to a rented winch.

So what else is possible?  How about a helicopter?  I’ve seen images of other houses being installed into various locations by heli-lift, and this seemd like a great way to move these containers to their final resting place.

Well, seemed like a good idea at least until I found out what it actually costs.  It turns out that a Bell 214 can carry a sizeable load (the particular helicopter I was looking at has a 6600# lift capacity), so an empty or even slightly loaded (with ~1000# of gear) container could well be moved to wherever one might want it to go. Now, it turns out that this particular company is located at the airfield in our nearby small town, and they usually do forestry service work (fire-fighting, moving equipment into the far back reaches of the forests, etc.), but they have actually moved 20′ containers in the past, so this wasn’t even an unusual request!  And in the owners opinion, we weren’t even all that far away from their base of operations, so there was no need to set up a remote landing site, which would keep costs down.

Bell 214To top it all off, we weren’t even talking about moving the containers very far (~1/2 mile as the crow flies), so all in all, this really is about as inexpensive an operation as you can get.

But inexpensive it isn’t. I bought the two containers for $1900 each, and spent another $900 moving them to where they sit now.  The price for flying them the last 1/2 mile?  ~$5500.

It’s totally a bargain if there’s no other way to get them where they need to go, but in this case, I guess I’ll fork out the $400 for the forklift, and then do it again when the ground hardens up some more (though with one more week like the last one, we may be ok in the next week or so).  Even if I have to rent the big dozer that they’ve got, and the forklift… Well, I’m still only ~$1500 for 2 days of heavy equipment.  I think I see my future, and it’s big and yellow.

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