The Antonov An-225, the world’s largest aircraft, is on its way to Perth on what will be its first visit to Australia.
The aircraft is carrying a 135-tonne generator for a resources company and is expected to land at 1000 on Sunday and remain in Perth until Wednesday.
Australian Aviation contributor Geoffrey Thomas reported in The West Australian on Thursday that the Antonov is making its way to Perth from Kiev via Prague, Turkmenbashi, Hyderabad and Kuala Lumpur.
Anticipating massive public interest in the massive aircraft, Perth Airport has set up a dedicated viewing area for the public to come out to see the six-engine behemoth. The airport is also offering free parking in specially designated carparks to cater for the thousands expected to turn out for the aircraft’s arrival, and there will also be temporary toilets and food trucks at the Antonov “event zone” located near Terminals 1 and 2.
Perth Airport says on its website the regular public viewing area on Dunreath Drive will be open but it was expected to fill up very quickly and would be closed once full.
“The Level 3 viewing deck at T1 International has limited capacity, and it is expected there will be long queues and wait times,” Perth Airport said.
“There will also be time restrictions for the viewing deck and the area will be cleared of all visitors every 30 minutes. There is restricted viewing in the other terminals (T1 Domestic, T3 and T4), and they are not recommended vantage points. The Antonov Event Zone is not paved, so please dress appropriately (closed in shoes) for the conditions. All spectators enter at their own risk.”
Perth Airport has also reminded people the use of remotely piloted aircraft is prohibited within 3nm of the airport under Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations.
“If you are found with a drone at Perth Airport you will be reported to the Australian Federal Police and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority immediately,” it said.
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.
The aircraft’s progress to Australia can be followed on the Flightradar24 website.