The Royal Air Force has returned its Puma detachment helicopters airlifting by An-225 from Afghanistan to its Brize Norton base in the United Kingdom as part of the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan.
Read More: Antonov 225 Mriya, the successful Soviet Cargo Plane with five facts
The An225 likely is transporting a couple (5 to 6 ) RAF Puma’s back to the UK. The total weight on these flights is a piece of cake. The Max payload is 250.000 kg. Now just below 10% of the Max payload. pic.twitter.com/Nh8PHUdEcS— Marcel ☁ (@marcelvandenber) June 23, 2021
These three Puma helicopters were transported by an Antonov AN-225 powered by six engines and has a whopping 32 wheels. The AN-225 took off from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport with around 50 personnel based at Benson Joint Helicopter Command and the three Puma helicopters.
According to the Ministry, the three Puma helicopters flew a combined 12,800 hours, transporting 126,000 passengers and 660,000kgs of cargo since their deployment in 2015.
The Antonov An-225, registered as UR82060, departed Gostomel Antonov Airport as flight NAG94NV at 20:51 on Tuesday, June 22, arriving at Hamid Karzai International Airport 3:40 local time on Wednesday.
The AN-225 departed Kabul at 9:02 local time onwards to Karachi for a technical stop. The AN-125 departed Karachi en route to RAF Brize Norton as flight ADB3859 at 8:37 local time on June 24.
An-225 broke the airport fench at RAF Brize Norton
Six engines Antonov Mriya left its mark on the fencing at RAF Brize Norton. Even at the Cotswold airbase, the world’s largest aircraft blasted through the perimeter fence. Phillips, an aviation photographer, said, “Since it left Brize Norton for its home base in Kyiv, Ukraine, the Antonov 225 Mriya treated everyone to one last treat. A single explosion from each of the six was sufficient to demolish the fence now at the end of runway 25.”
The Antonov An-225 Mriya, the world’s biggest operational aircraft, returned to the sky in 2020 after regular maintenance on its six engines. In 2001, the An-225 began commercial service. Antonov Airlines reports that comprehensive maintenance has prolonged the airline’s service life until 2033.
This particular mission marked the return of the Antonov AN-225 after almost 11 months of heavy maintenance. The aircraft last flew on August 3 from Tel Aviv to Gostomel.
The Mriya returned
Volga-Dnepr Airlines, a Russian freight carrier, halted its whole AN-124 aircraft in later November after a runway mishap.
While take-off, one of its AN-124s experienced an erupting engine failure. Without Volga-Dnepr’s aircraft freight sector faced a severe lack of aircraft capable of high load.
Antonov Airlines, Ukrainian operator of AN-124 continued safe operation of its aircraft of this type and returned the AN-225 to the commercial market trying to cover the gap created by Volga-Dnepr withdrawal. Antonov’s AN-124 fleet and its unmatched payload capacity the AN-225 is abruptly in high demand. Since last year, the aircraft are very active, flying numerous supply missions supporting the battle against COVID-19.
Antonov An-225 Mriya is the world’s heaviest aircraft with a wingspan of 88.4 meters, length of 84 meters, a height of 18.1 meters, and take-off weight of 640,000 kgs.