For the past five years, Dave Lange has handled all FedEx shipments that require a chartered plane, coordinating deliveries of the big, weird, and extra important. His techniques put your stamps and envelopes to shame.
Popular Science:When the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago renovated in 2008, you flew its seven whales to a host aquarium. So how does a whale travel?
Lange: Each one is in a metal container, which has a sling, where the whale sits. The box isn't completely filled with water; there's just enough to keep the animal moist.
PS:If you're moving many animals together on a plane, how do you decide where to put each one?
Lange: The plane has to be balanced, so they have to be in certain positions. But you still want everyone to be calm during the flight: You don't want to put stallions next to mares. That's not a good idea.
PS:What's the craziest delivery you've ever done?
Lange: I had to arrange my first panda charter in 13 days, which is a really quick turnaround. We were moving two panda cubs from the U.S. to China and didn't get approval from the Chinese government until two days before we operated.
Lange: The heaviest shipment we did—it set a record for FedEx—was a famine-relief charter from Paris to Nairobi. We carried almost 218,000 pounds of high-protein bars, which could feed 4,000 people for two weeks.