Australian Aviation photographer Victor Pody was on hand to capture the moment a Volga-Dnepr Antonov An-124 arrived in Melbourne last week.
In January, Volga-Dnepr began returning its grounded An-124s to the skies following an apparent engine failure incident in November 2020.
The aircraft, RA-82074 msn 9773051459142, departed Osaka at 10:06am on 15 April as flight VI4484 and landed in Melbourne at 10:45pm, before departing onwards to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, three days later.
Konstantin Vekshin, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said earlier this year that the return of the aircraft would happen incrementally and added the operator would still “take its time” to return the full fleet of 12 to service.
It follows the Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov An-124 being forced to make an emergency landing in Novosibirsk, Russia, shortly after take-off. The aircraft, RA-82042, had 14 people and 84 tonnes of cargo on board and subsequently overshot the runway by around 200 metres.
After the incident, the airline took the decision to ground the entire fleet but now says it has put the planes through an exhaustive array of technical checks.
“It appears that we have been able to re-start our An-124-100 operations before the end of this year,” said Vekshin in a statement. “We are in the process of diligent execution of the service directives, the technical checks are on the right track. As expected, our first An-124-100 is back in the air again.”
World of Aviation reported at the time how witnesses on the ground reported sighting two of the four engines trailing smoke upon departure.
The incident resulted in a total loss of communication with the aircraft, and the loss of transponder signals. Engine shrapnel from the damaged plane fell through the roof of a warehouse near the airport but didn’t cause any injuries.
Additional reporting by Hannah Dowling.