An-225 World's Largest Plane Set to Land in Perth Carrying 117-Tonne Generator

source:WCARN.com

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The world's largest airplane -- which can hold the equivalent of ten British battle tanks and has twice the wing area of a Boeing 747 -- is making the long journey from Central Europe to the Australian Outback.

The six-engine, 600 tonne aircraft -- which once was used to transport a Soviet space shuttle on its roof -- took off from Gostomel airport in Ukraine on Tuesday and will land in front of a huge crowd of aviation enthusiasts in Perth at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.

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Designed and built in Ukraine in the 1980s, the immense "Antonov An-225 Mriya" will have to pass through a number of refuelling stops across Eurasia, India and South East Asia before its 42 tyres hit the tarmac and drop off its precious cargo - an enormous 117 tonne power generator.

The electric generator was picked up from the Czech Republic and will be delivered to West Australian aluminium-ore mining company Worstely Alumina, where it will be likely be used to power large drills and excavating machinery.

Measuring in at 84 metres long and with a wingspan of 88 metres -- almost twice the width of a traditional football field -- the plane has acted as a commercial transporter of oversized payloads for over two decades.

Without a load, the colossal Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian for "dream") can fly for up to 18 hours without stopping to refuel.

The unloading phase of the generator on board could take up to 10 hours.

Global logistics company DB Schenker, hired to facilitate the challenging resource shipment, said the plane would spend two days at the international terminal before taking off again.

"The excitement and expectations around the imminent arrival of the Mriya are high. We are delighted to lead this impressive and thrilling project," said Frank Vogel, Director of Oil and Gas Projects at DB Schenker.

Perth Airport are anticipating a crowd as large as 50,000 could come to watch the historic moment, and have prepared accordingly with a number of designated viewing zones near the main runway where the plane will touch down.

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