The world’s largest aircraft – the Ukraine-built Antonov An-225 Mriya – has been used to transport some heavy-duty mining equipment from Prague to Perth in Australia – to the delight of aviation enthusiasts on several continents.
The plane – whose Russian name, Mriya, means ‘dream’ – took off from Prague’s Václav Havel Airport on Wednesday transporting a 117-tonne mining generator to buyers in Perth, Australia.
The plane – which has six engines and weighs 175 tonnes – has been greeted by aviation enthusiasts at all points along its mammoth, 9,680-mile journey.
Although the plane can fly up to 18 hours without refuelling, the journey to Australia was punctuated by stops in Turkmenbashi, Hyderabad and Jakarta before the cargo finally arrived in Perth on Sunday, May 15 at 11:50am local time - with the pilot flying the Ukranian flag from the cockpit window as he taxied along the runway.
According to the Antonov website, about 50,000 “aviation enthusiasts” were expected to greet the plane on its arrival in Perth and Perth Airport even provided a webpage dedicated to the event, full of instructions for the best place to view the landing. On the day an estimated 15,000 were present in Perth to see the plane land.
German journalist Grit Hofmann, who was on board the flight, tweeted some views of the interior and cargo hold:
She also shared an image of the plane’s massive cargo on Twitter:
The Antonov An-225 was built over four years from 1984 to 1988 in then-Soviet Ukraine and was designed to transport the Soviet space shuttle, the Buran – which it did, 14 times. In recent years it has been used to transport heavy-duty commercial cargo like the mining equipment it delivered to Australia. It is the world’s largest and heaviest aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 640 tonnes. Only one An-225 was ever built.