Massive crowds greet An-225’s arrival in Perth

written by Chris Frame | May 15, 2016
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The An-225, UR-82060, touches down at Perth Airport. (Jaryd Stock)

The world’s largest aircraft, the Soviet-era Antonov An-225 Mriya, landed in Perth on Sunday, the type’s first Australian visit.

Originally scheduled to arrive at 10:00am, the 84m long aircraft touched down just before midday on Perth’s Runway 21. After clearing the runway, it was treated to a water cannon salute, with over 20,000 spectators watching on.

The aircraft is in Perth to deliver a 117-tonne generator, and is scheduled to depart on Tuesday. Anticipating large crowds for the arrival, Perth Airport arranged special viewing areas including an ‘Antonov Viewing Area’ off Airport Drive for spectators to witness the historic landing.

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However, despite best efforts, the aircraft’s arrival caused chaos on the roads near the airport, with traffic at a standstill for much of the day.

The arrival attracted hundreds of people to the Dunreath Drive viewing platform, which reached capacity just after 6am. Some enthusiasts resorted to sleeping under the stars to get access when the gates opened at 5am.

Thousands of others headed to T1 International’s viewing deck, which had not seen such crowds since the Concorde visited Perth in the 1980s.

The aircraft can be seen from the Public Viewing Deck at T1 International until Tuesday, however registration is required at check-in counter 41 to access the viewing deck.

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Developed originally to transport the Soviet Union’s version of the Space Shuttle, the Buran, the An-225 is a development of the An-124, and first flew in 1988. Named Mriya, Ukrainian for ‘dream’, it has a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes, a wing span of 88 metres and a cargo volume of 1,300m3, while each of its six engines generates more than 50,000lb of thrust. Production of a second An-225 commenced in the late 1980s, but it was never completed.

AN225 - YPPH - 15MAY2016 - Duncan Watkinson (2)
Some of Perth’s resident FIFO fleet forms a backdrop for the landing An-225. (Duncan Watkinson)
AN225 - YPPH - 15MAY2016 - Duncan Watkinson (4)
Crowds line the fence at Perth Airport. (Duncan Watkinson)

9 Comments

  • Greg Soper

    says:

    By the specs this Antonov is only using 6 crew .In the past has seen where other Antonov ‘s have up to 16 crew members ..Could be costs cutting ..

  • jeff Atkinson

    says:

    Cant believe the amount of BAE 146’s parked on the apron there.

  • Adrian P

    says:

    Hang on to those BAE 146′”s, you might need them at Badgerys Creek to operate during the curfew with their step arrival and departure capability.

  • Red Barron

    says:

    Anyone got the departure time for Tuesday ?

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      0530 apparently

  • jamie

    says:

    as a reply to Greg. the flight crew is standard 6 people on the Antonov 121 and Antonov 225. these are the pilots, navigator, etc. The higher crew count you mention refers to the loading crew. the loading crew also fly’s with the aircraft and operates the aircrafts onboard cranes, ramps and loading systems. There can be well over 20 crew members total onboard depending on the aircraft.

  • John Taylor

    says:

    In response to Jeff Atkinson’s comment on the number of BAe 146’s on the apron in the background just prior to Mriya’s touchdown at PER on 15 May 2016, Cobham Aviation operates this type almost exclusively for FIFO ops here in the West. Check out flightradar24 Tuesday through to Thursday, the predominant FIFO days in WA, and you will see that the ‘146s are nearly “bumper to bumper” arriving and departing PER – well, almost!! Hence, Sundays are quiet and they were parked up when the AN225 arrived!! Two of Cobham’s ‘146’s have been converted to unsealed rwy status, which enables FIFO ops out of Kambalda, WA. Unfortunately, the downturn in the nickel market has resulted in cancellation of the direct BAe 146 FIFO service to Kambalda, resulting in ops, as required, Kalgoorlie centred.

  • Lee

    says:

    146’s? … there could be 2 there and is hard to tell if not impossible from the photo – NJR, 146-100( light blue tail) and NJG, 146-200 (white tail). otherwise RJ-85; NJW or NJU (light blue tails) and the white tails RJ100’s. – hard to tell from that photo but 1 is likely to be 146-200 NJG (3rd white tail on the right)
    NJR NJG NJU and NJW are gravel capable, operating to 3 dirt runway destinations at last check.

  • David Fix

    says:

    I wonder if it will come to Sydney?

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