Good afternoon all! Today, I had the pleasure of getting to see the Antonov A225 (UR-82060) landing in Shannon (SNN). It was my first time seeing this monster of a plane! The aircraft started its day in Kazakhstan’s Almaty airport. It flew a short leg to Baku, Azerbaijan before continuing on to Shannon, Ireland. The aircraft last visited Shannon in 2015. The AN225 was actually scheduled to arrive in Shannon on Tuesday the 9th, but unfortunately due to a technical fault, it was grounded in Almaty overnight. The original routing was also supposed to take it from Almaty to Baku then a short stop in Leipzig, Germany and finishing its day in Shannon. Today however, it cut out the leg to Leipzig.
The AN225 touched down on Shannon’s runway 06 today at around 1245Z. Due to performance limitations, Shannon’s runway is the only runway in the country that can cater for this 32 wheeled plane. It is due to stay overnight in Shannon and continue onwards back to its home base in Gostomel Airport, Kiev, Ukraine at around 10am local time on the 11th of June. An aircraft such as this is obviously incredibly valuable amidst globally challenging times. It has been operating extensively in recent weeks delivering PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) from Japan and China to Canada.
*Some other interesting facts include:
It has a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes (Holds the record for the most air freight in a single load. It carried four army tanks back in 2001).
It has a wingspan of 290 feet or 88 metres
It has the same height as a 6 story building
It was originally designed to carry the Buran spaceplane
It has 6 engines and 32 tyres
On top of just seeing the AN225, I also saw countless other airliners which are currently being stored for airlines during this global pandemic. There were aircraft from Aegan, Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Thomas Cook and many more. Lufthansa have an engineering base out in Shannon so there were quite a few Lufthansa A320’s too. As well as those, I saw an Omni Air Boeing 767 that was just pushing back from stand as the AN225 was preparing to unload. You might see it in the corner of one of the pictures. Omni Air is an airline chartered by the U.S. government to fly American troops between mainland U.S. and the Middle East. Shannon acts as a stopover point for this journey. I’m not quite sure where this Omni Air 767 was headed on this occasion, but I’d imagine it was on it’s way back stateside.
In closing, the arrival of this aircraft gained so much traction and publicity from the mainstream media in Ireland. It was really impressive to see the huge turnout of people from far and wide from all around the country. Cars were parked just about everywhere and there was great atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. It stood as a testament to how aviation is interwoven into the DNA of the people around the Shannon area and beyond. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to spot this really impressive aircraft. It’s the very object that captures the wonder and awe that is aviation. Of course, I’ll attach some pictures below.
Disclaimer: All of the attached pictures belong to me and were taken with an iPhone Xs Max camera.