Thousands of spectators greeted and cheered at the biggest aircraft in the world when it was landed at Perth Airport on May 15. After making a long journey from central Europe, the Antonov An-225 Mriya, which means “dream” in Ukrainian language, landed in Australia, which was its first trip to the country.
More than 15,000 people gathered at the airport to watch Antonov that carried a 117-tonne power generator for Worsley Alumina’s Bunbury plant from Prague to Perth. The Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control changed the flight schedule and the flight was delayed for two hours. But, nothing could dissuade the aviation buffs to come and watch the much-anticipated landing.
Image Courtesy: Financial Express
Antonov is so big and well built that it can carry a maximum takeoff weight of 640-tonnes. For this reason, it was the only aircraft that could carry the 117-tonne power generator. A spokesman for the mining company said that they thought of other shipping options but none could deliver as fast as Antonov. However, he did not disclose how much the company has to spend to get the service of the aircraft.
Antonov Design Bureau of Soviet Union built the enormous plane in the 1980s. With 6 turbofan engines, 32 wheels, 84-metre length, and 88-metre wingspan, Antonov is a one-of-a-kind aircraft that has never been replicated. It was the first time when the plane landed in Australia though it has been flying regularly since December 1988.
Image Courtesy: Daily Mail
Fiona Lander, the Executive General Manager External Affairs of Perth Airport, said that she had never seen such a level of planespotting interest for any other aircraft ever landed in Australia. She also said that they worked to ensure that every planespotter got a good view of Antonov.