Published on May 11th, 2015 | by Jim Lee0
Antonov An-225 visit to Shannon on 11th April
In a post on 9th April we gave the following advance news
Antonov AN-225 due to visit Shannon this Saturday ***UPDATED ARRIVAL TIME***
The giant Antonov An-225 UR-82060 is due to visit Shannon this Saturday (11th April). As we write, the aircraft is planned to arrive at 20:45 on Saturday and depart on Sunday night at 23:00. ***Updated arrival time now 03:30 on Saturday night / Sunday Morning ***
11th April duly arrived and Shannon Airport became the destination of choice for aviation enthusiasts from across the country and the Antonov 225, proved a star attraction again following its overnight arrival at 02:45 from Bangor International Airport.
The aircraft, the only one of its type in service, last visited Shannon on 21st May 2013. The An-225’s name, Mriya means “Dream” in Ukrainian. It’s powered by six turbofan engines and is the longest and heaviest airplane ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes. It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The single example built has the Ukrainian civil registration UR-82060. A second airframe was partially built; its completion was halted because of lack of funding and interest.
The Antonov An-225, initially developed for the task of transporting the Buran spaceplane, was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124. The first and only An-225 was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads. The aircraft holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single item payload of 189,980 kilograms, and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kilograms. It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kilograms on a commercial flight. For those seeing the aircraft in Shannon, its sheer size dwarfed anything else on the airfield. With a wing span wider than the Croke Park pitch and, from nose to tail, over one and a half times the length of an Olympic swimming pool, the Antonov 225 stands alone as the largest and most powerful jet ever made. Due to the length of its runway – the longest in Ireland – Shannon is the Irish only that the Antonov 225 has landed at.
Niall Maloney, Shannon Airport Operations Director, said the aircraft never fails to astound. “It’s an incredible aircraft and when you see it on the taxiway here and can put its size into perspective, it’s almost unbelievable that it can get up into the skies, let alone be as graceful when it’s up there,” he said.
“Last time it was here, in 2013, it landed during daylight hours and there were hundreds if not a couple of thousand people who came to see it. People stood on the roofs of vans just to be able to video it landing. “This time around it arrived in the middle of the night and we still had up to 20 cars loads of people in the viewing area ahead of arrival.” “We love having it here. The excitement around its presence is great and creates a great buzz. We have people coming and going all day to see it.” The aircraft departed around 22:00 for Châteauroux Airport, in France.
Some Antonov 225 facts
- It’s design is based around its smaller sibling, the Antonov 124
- It stands almost seven stories high
- It has six engines and 32 tyres
- It broke 109 world records within months of its first flight
- The jet has the capacity to carry 1,500 people, almost three times the capacity of the world’s largest passenger jet
See below for a selection of photos from its last visit to Shannon when conditions were better for photography. Click to enlarge.
Earlier on 1st April Shannon hosted another rare and unusual visitor in the form of DC-3C-65TP Turbo Dakota N467KS. Committed enthusiasts had been forewarned through the internet that the aircraft was due in Shannon around 18:30 from St-Johns. Those who turned up that evening were duly rewarded with the distinctive shape of a DC-3 on finals for runway 24. The aircraft had a white fuselage, an attractive cheat line and dark tail together with small ‘Samaritan’s Purse; titles. This is an Evangelical Christian charity which operates mainly in Africa. After an overnight stop the aircraft departed at 07.00 en-route to the group’s base at Eldorat, Kenya via Malta. Like many surviving Daks, this aircraft was a wartime model delivered to the US Army Air Force in May 1944 as 43-15709. It survived the war and was sold on the civilian market in the Middle East at the end of 1945. It had a long civilian history until sold to the South African Air Force (SAAF) in 1977 where it was subsequently re-engined with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65AR turboprops. It was registered as N145RD in December 1997. It was subsequently re-registered as N467KS to Priority Air Charter LLC of Kidron, Ohio, on 28th March 2011 and is leased to Samaritan’s Purse.