Friday, June 6, 2008

Antonov AN-124-100 Up Close

My brother Ken is the Long Beach Airport Secretary, a job he enjoys very much.

Bob and I had been looking forward to a tour of the airport for some time.

Little did we know what a rare and spectacular treat was in store for us.

Until today, this was the closest Bob and I had been to an Antonov AN-124-100. I snapped this picture as we cruised out of San Diego:

Thanks to Ken, we got a lot closer today.

The Antonov AN-124-100 made a quick stop at the airport yesterday and was due to depart this morning.

We were privileged to get an up close look at this massive transport plane shortly before take off.

According to the Voga-Dnepr Group website, "The Antonov AN-124-100 Ruslan aircraft form the backbone of Volga-Dnepr's fleet. Owing to its unique technical performance, the AN-124-100 is the unrivaled leader of the outsize and 'super heavy' air cargo transportation sector."

"The overall size and volume of the aircraft's cargo compartment, its cargo capacity and flight range, enables the AN-124 to provide the perfect solution for Volga-Dnepr's customers' transportation challenges and allows the airline to carry up to 120 tonnes as a single unit."

"The 24-wheel undercarriage of the Ruslan enables the nose section of the aircraft to “kneel down” as required to facilitate loading and off-loading operations. It also allows the aircraft to operate to a wider variety of airports and airfields with different types of runway surfaces."

The CSULB Pyramid is visible just below the tail in this picture.

We all took advantage of this amazing photo op:

Bob snaps away:

Check us out!

This is so cool!

We changed our position to the other side of the runway for the take off:

We're moving into our new position:

This was a fantastic view point:

Hearing protection was advisable:

The big plane makes its move:

Check out the dust cloud those powerful jet engines kicked up:

Ready for take off!

There she goes:

What an amazing opportunity.

It pays to know people in high places!

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