Plane-ly a sight to behold

Plane spotters in the Czech Republic were out in force as the Antonov An-225 Mriya swooped into the Vaclav Havel Airport for its first commercial flight from Prague to Perth yesterday. The world's largest, longest and heaviest aircraft ever built, th
PHOTO: REUTERS

Plane spotters in the Czech Republic were out in force as the Antonov An-225 Mriya swooped into the Vaclav Havel Airport for its first commercial flight from Prague to Perth yesterday. The world's largest, longest and heaviest aircraft ever built, the plane is scheduled to touch down in Perth on Sunday. The Ukrainian cargo jet named "Mriya" is one of a kind. Officially designated as the Antonov An-225, the plane was developed in the 1980s to carry the Soviet version of the space shuttle on its back. It will be delivering a 117-tonne power generator from the Czech Republic to Western Australia for a refinery, according to an agreement with the transport and logistics company DB Schenker. The plane's wingspan measures 88m. At 43m, Mriya's cargo hold is actually longer than the Wright Brothers' historic flight in 1903, covering 36m. Its maximum total weight of 580 tonnes at takeoff is more than twice as heavy as the Statue of Liberty. Equipped with a 32-wheel landing gear and six-engine configuration, the Mriya really is special - there is only one in service today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2016, with the headline 'Plane-ly a sight to behold'. Print Edition | Subscribe