By Simon Tubey
Normality resumed for diehard Perth aviation enthusiasts as they bade farewell today to the giant Antonov An-225 Mriya as it made its way to Dubai World Centre Airport (Al Maktoum) in the United Arab Emirates.
The gigantic aeroplane arrived in style in Perth in a cloud of smoke, though its departure was a little more subdued in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
“It was very impressive when it came in and the amount of smoke it made when it touched down because it has 32 wheels on the undercarriage, so as soon as all those tyres hit the tarmac it generated a massive cloud of smoke,” said Mr David Eyre, president of Aviation WA.
Mr Eyre told The Bounce News that even Iron Maiden’s personal jet, ‘Ed Force One’ was delayed from 11.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m., and lead singer Bruce Dickinson could be seen watching the arrival of the Antonov at the airport before they departed.
The Antonov’s arrival left a vapour trail of controversy as roads near the airport were plunged into chaos as it touched down.
Mr Eyre told The Bounce News that despite authorities organising the plane’s arrival on Sunday, Main Roads WA appeared overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who had turned up to view the impressive aircraft’s arrival.
Without any cargo, the Antonov An-225 Mriya can carry 300-tonnes of fuel and can remain in the air for 18 hours straight.
The spectacular plane is expected to visit Dubai, Milan, Leipzig, Cairo and return to Dubai to finish its momentous journey.