VH-EPK Bell 412EP (cn 36100) of CHC Helicopters, on lease to the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services as ‘RAC RESCUE’ at Royal Perth Hospital Helipad (YXRP) – Tue 22 October 2013

VH-EPK Bell 412EP (cn 36100) of CHC Helicopters, on lease to the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services as ‘RAC RESCUE’ at Royal Perth Hospital Helipad (YXRP) – Tue 22 October 2013.
The helipad at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) was opened on 27 July 1999. Located on the balcony of Level 5 in the North Block, the helipad is located close to the Intensive Care Unit and Operating Theatres, and is connected by a dedicated transport overpass to the Emergency Department. The helipad is used for helicopters transporting trauma and burns victims with life-threatening injuries from up to 200 kilometres away from Perth, saving critical time. Statistics show that in serious trauma cases, the time between injury and initial stabilisation (known as the ‘golden hour’) is the single most important factor in patient survival. In another link to aviation, the funding for the helipad came from the Sir Norman Brearley Trust, set up by the Rotary Club of Perth. Brearley was a famous, pioneering West Australian aviator who established the airline which operated the first scheduled air services in Australia. Brearley was also a charter member of the Perth Rotary Club and established the trust to fund worthwhile community projects.
Photo © David Eyre

17 June 2016 © David Eyre

The two Bell 412EP ‘RAC Rescue’ helicopters are to be replaced from mid-2018, with unconfirmed reports indicating that larger AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters will be used.

Royal Perth Hospital helipad will also require a $7 million upgrade to handle heavier helicopters.

The helipad is currently rated for helicopters up to 5400kg and is ageing, but it needs strengthening to handle 7000kg due to changes to CASA guidelines.

The Health Department considered this to be an urgent priority, but the State Treasury knocked back the funding request in the May 2016 Budget, until it receives a more developed business case by the end of 2016.

VH-ZPB Embraer 190AR (ERJ-190-100IGW) (MSN 19000162) of Virgin Australia, named ‘Bicheno Beach’, at Perth Airport - Wed 16 July 2014. Flight VA1487 to Broome, taking off from runway 21 at 15:26. Photo © David Eyre

VH-ZPB Embraer 190AR (ERJ-190-100IGW) (MSN 19000162) of Virgin Australia, named ‘Bicheno Beach’, at Perth Airport – Wed 16 July 2014.
The entire E190 fleet is to be withdrawn over the next three years. Photo © David Eyre

VH-FVZ ATR 72-600 (ATR72-212A) (cn 1087) of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (leased from Avation PLC), named “Angourie Beach” at Perth Airport – Wed 5 June 2013 **FIRST VISIT TO PERTH** This ATR72 is new and arrived the previous night at 20:58hrs from Jakarta-Halim, on its delivery flight from France.  Flight routing was Toulouse (France) to Borg El Arab (Alexandria, Egypt) – Al Ain (UAE) – Nagpur (India) – Penang (Malaysia) – Jakarta-Halim (Indonesia) – Perth. The aircraft was flown by a crew from South Cross International using callsign 'SXI-1325'. After some pre-service maintenance work, it will be delivered for service in the Eastern States. Photo © Wilson

VH-FVZ ATR 72-600 (ATR72-212A) (cn 1087) of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (leased from Avation PLC), named ‘Angourie Beach’ at Perth Airport – Wed 5 June 2013
The ATR72 fleet is to be reduced as part of the restructure. Photo © Wilson

15 June 2016 © David Eyre

Virgin Australia today announced that the airline is cutting costs and raising more than $1 billion to pay down debt.

The cost-cutting includes withdrawing the entire Embraer E190 fleet over the next three years and reducing the size of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines’ ATR72 turboprop fleet.  The Fokker 50 fleet was recently retired and is being sold.

More savings will be gained from improved fleet utilisation, optimisation of the Group’s network, operating efficiencies, maintenance and engineering, as well as in procurement and supply chain. Management jobs will also be cut.

Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti is planning to use this money to complete the transformation of the airline into a strong rival to Qantas, and to commence flights to China.

Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, and more recently, Chinese companies Nanshan Group (which bought most of Air New Zealand’s share) and HNA Group are all major shareholders in Virgin Australia.

 

A6-BLG Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (MSN 39652/432) of Etihad, at Perth Airport - Thu 2 June 2016. A6-BLG's first Visit to Perth, and the beginning of regular Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner services to Perth by Etihad. This aircraft first flew on 8 May 2016 and was delivered on 27 May 2016, a few days before this photo. Flight EY486 is seen landing on runway 06 at 1:22pm, with Perth city in the background. Photo © David Eyre

A6-BLG Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (MSN 39652/432) of Etihad, at Perth Airport – Thu 2 June 2016.
A6-BLG’s first visit to Perth, and the beginning of regular Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner services to Perth by Etihad. This aircraft first flew on 8 May 2016 and was delivered on 27 May 2016, a few days before this photo. Flight EY486 from Abu Dhabi is seen landing on runway 06 at 1:22pm, with Perth city in the background.
Photo © David Eyre

A6-BLG Boeing 787-9 DreamLiner (MSN 39652) of Etihad at Perth Airport – 2 June 2016.

A6-BLG Boeing 787-9 DreamLiner (MSN 39652) of Etihad at Perth Airport – 2 June 2016.
1st Visit to Perth, this aircraft was only delivered on the 26th May this year and is making the first official Etihad 787 visit to Perth. Receiving a water cannon salute on arrival at 1:35 pm.
Photo © Keith Anderson (Photographed using Canon cameras and lenses)

2 June 2016 © David Eyre

See our photos of the inaugural service

Etihad Airways officially introduced the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on Abu Dhabi – Perth services, replacing the Airbus A330-200s previously used.

Etihad’s newest Boeing 787 in the fleet, A6-BLG had the honour of operating today’s flight. A6-BLG was first flown on 8 May 2016 and was only delivered during 26-27 May 2016, a few days before today’s flight, operating its first service on 30 May 2016 from Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf and return.

Today’s flight EY486 took off from Abu Dhabi at 11.28pm on 1 June 2016 (Abu Dhabi time). Whilst the departure was late, the aircraft made up time en route, and after a flight time of 9 hours 53 minutes, landed on Perth Airport’s runway 06 at 1:22pm Perth time.

As it taxied in, it was welcomed by a water cannon salute from airport fire crews, before parking at Bay 150 (Gate 50) at Perth’s new Terminal 1 International/Domestic pier.

The return flight EY487 departed on time at 5pm, taking off from runway 03 at 5:16pm, and after a flight of 10 hours 26 minutes, arrived at Abu Dhabi at 11:42pm (Abu Dhabi time).

The visit follows Etihad’s first (unplanned) visit to Perth by a Boeing 787-9 on 30 May 2016, when A6-BLF replaced an A330 which had a technical issue on that day’s EY486/EY487 service.The final Etihad A330-200 service to Perth, operated by A6-EYI, arrived on 1 June 2016.

Perth services are operated by Boeing 787s in two-class configuration, with 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats. The 299 seats provide 14 per cent more capacity than the Airbus A330-200 it replaces, adding an extra 518 seats per week to the Perth services.

Etihad commenced services to Perth from Abu Dhabi on 16 July 2014, with the initial service flown by an Airbus A340-600, but the Airbus A330-200 normally operated the service.

Perth is the second Australian city to be served by Etihad Airways’ B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft; Brisbane was the first in June 2015. Etihad’s Dreamliner is also used on services to Singapore, Washington DC, Zurich and Düsseldorf. Services will commence to Istanbul, Johannesburg and Shanghai during 2016.

Etihad has six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in service and another 64 on order.

Etihad Airways Senior Vice President of Marketing, Shane O’Hare, said the decision to upgrade to the Dreamliner reflected the importance of Western Australia to Etihad Airways.

“Since launching flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi two years ago we have enjoyed strong two-way demand from business and leisure travellers on the route.

“Our Dreamliners, with ground-breaking innovations in all cabins, have raised the passenger experience bar, setting the benchmark in world aviation for superior comfort, entertainment, inflight connectivity, and service.”

“The additional weekly seats to Perth will bolster Etihad Airways’ existing support for Western Australia’s tourism industry by bringing more international visitors from across our global network to experience the delights of a Western Australian holiday.”

Etihad has a number of partner airlines, including Virgin Australia, and this enables it to offer the convenience of one-stop services to Perth from Europe, the Middle East and east coast USA, via their Abu Dhabi hub.

Features of Etihad’s Dreamliner

The Dreamliner features the largest windows; air that is cleaner, more humid and at a higher pressure for better comfort; large overhead stowage bins, soothing LED lighting; and technology to sense and counter turbulence for a smoother ride.

The onboard décor and lighting have been inspired by contemporary modern Arabian design.

The 28 Business Studios all offer direct aisle access, a fully flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long, and an increase of 20 per cent in personal space. Upholstered in the finest Poltrona Frau leather, the Business Studio is equipped with an in-seat massage and pneumatic cushion control system which enables guests to adjust the firmness and comfort of their seat. Each Business Studio has an 18-inch personal touch-screen TV with noise-cancelling headsets. Food and Beverage Managers, handpicked from the world’s top hotels and restaurants, guide guests in Business Class through the extensive a la carte and dine anytime options and provide recommendations on the optimal food and wine pairing.

The 271 Economy Smart Seats provide enhanced comfort with a unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest on each seat, adjustable lumbar support, a seat width of approximately 19 inches, and an 11.1” personal TV monitor. The airline also offers ‘Flying Nannies’, to assist families travelling with children.

The Dreamliner fleet features the latest Panasonic eX3 entertainment system which provides more than 750 hours of on-demand entertainment including seven live TV channels, improved gaming and high definition screens across all cabins. The aircraft has full mobile and Wi-Fi service, with USB and power points at every seat.

Flight schedule for Abu Dhabi-Perth:

Flight No. Origin Departs Destination Arrives Frequency
EY486 Abu Dhabi (AUH) 22:30 Perth (PER) 13:50 next day Daily
EY487 Perth (PER) 17:00 Abu Dhabi (AUH) 00:25 next day Daily
A6-EYI Airbus A330-243 (MSN 730) of Etihad, at Perth Airport – 1 June 2016. Making the final scheduled flight to Perth by an Etihad A330, lining up for departure at 5:10 pm. Photo © Keith Anderson (Photographed using Canon cameras and lenses)

A6-EYI Airbus A330-243 (MSN 730) of Etihad, at Perth Airport – 1 June 2016.
Making the final scheduled flight to Perth by an Etihad A330, lining up for departure at 5:10 pm.
Photo © Keith Anderson (Photographed using Canon cameras and lenses)

1 June 2016 © David Eyre

SEE OUR PHOTOS OF THE FINAL ETIHAD A330-200 SERVICE TO PERTH

Today marked Etihad’s last Airbus A330-200 service between Abu Dhabi and Perth, before the airline switched to their new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

A6-EYI, which wears the ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ livery, had the honour of flying the final EY486/EY487 A330 service.

It took off from Abu Dhabi at 11:33pm on 31 May 2016 Abu Dhabi time (3:33am on 1 June Perth time) and after a flight time of 10 hours 29 minutes, landed on runway 06 at Perth at 2:02pm (Perth time), and parked at Bay 150, Terminal 1.

The return flight to Abu Dhabi took off from Perth’s runway 03 at 5:15pm on 1 June 2016, and after a flight time of 11 hours 15 minutes, arrived at Abu Dhabi at 12:30am on 2 June 2016 (4:30am Perth time).

Etihad commenced services to Perth from Abu Dhabi on 16 July 2014, with the initial service flown by an Airbus A340-600, but the Airbus A330-200 normally operated the service.

The first (unplanned) Etihad Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service occurred on 30 May 2016, when the scheduled A330 had a technical issue and was substituted by a 787. The official commencement of Etihad’s regular 787 services to Perth was on 2 June 2016.

A6-BLF Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (MSN 39651/416) of Etihad Airways, at Perth Airport - Mon 30 May 2016. * First visit by an Etihad Boeing 787 to Perth.* Etihad's 787-9 aircraft were due to replace the Airbus A330-200 on EY486/EY487 Abu Dhabi - Perth services from 1 June 2016 (arriving 2 June). However, an A330 was replaced (perhaps due to technical issue), with a 787 today. Flight EY486 is seen here at 1:56pm, arriving on Bay 150 (Gate 50) at Terminal 1 Domestic pier. This aircraft is only 2 months old. Photo © Jim Woodrow

A6-BLF Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (MSN 39651/416) of Etihad Airways, at Perth Airport – Mon 30 May 2016.
* First visit by an Etihad Boeing 787 to Perth.* Etihad’s 787-9 aircraft were due to replace the Airbus A330-200 on EY486/EY487 Abu Dhabi – Perth services from 1 June 2016 (arriving 2 June). However, an A330 was replaced (perhaps due to technical issue), with a 787 today. Flight EY486 is seen here at 1:56pm, arriving on Bay 150 (Gate 50) at Terminal 1 Domestic pier. This aircraft is only 2 months old.
Photo © Jim Woodrow

30 May 2016 © David Eyre

Etihad surprised the locals with an early visit to Perth by its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner today, in place of the usual Airbus A330-200.

As reported on AviationWA in December 2015, the 787 was due to replace the A330-200 on Etihad’s EY486/EY487 service between Abu Dhabi and Perth from 1 June 2016 (arriving 2 June).

It is not known why the 787 was operating the route today, but may have been due to the scheduled Airbus A330-200 having a technical issue.

Today’s surprise visit was flown by A6-BLF (MSN 39651/416), the sixth 787 out of seven delivered to Etihad so far. The aircraft is only two months old, having first flown on 31 Mar 2016 and was delivered to Etihad on 29 April 2016, entering service on 1 May 2016 as the first Dreamliner service on the Abu Dhabi – Dusseldorf route.

The aircraft is in three-class configuration, with  8 First Class Suites (4-abreast), 28 Business Class seats (8-abreast staggered) and 199 Economy seats (9-abreast), a total of 235 passengers. Perth is supposed to be getting two-class configured aircraft, with 22 Business Class seats and 240 Economy Class seats for a total of 262 passengers.

A6-BLF departed gate 60 at Abu Dhabi as flight EY486 around 1 hour 13 minutes behind schedule, at 11:43pm Abu Dhabi time (3:43am Perth time) – it was scheduled to depart at 10:30pm (Abu Dhabi time). However, the aircraft was able to make up time en route by using a higher cruise speed, landing on Perth’s runway 06 at 1:47pm, after a flight of 10 hours 4 minutes and parked at Bay 150 (Gate 50) at Terminal 1 Domestic at 1:56pm.

-The return flight EY487 took off from Perth’s runway 21 at 5:15pm for the return to Abu Dhabi.

SEE OUR PHOTOS OF THE FIRST ETIHAD BOEING 787 SERVICE TO PERTH

Etihad commenced services to Perth from Abu Dhabi on 16 July 2014, with the initial service flown by an Airbus A340-600, but the Airbus A330-200 normally operated the service.

The regular Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service by Etihad is still scheduled to commence from 1 June 2016, arriving in Perth on 2 June 2016.

Perth Airport now has five different Boeing 787 operators: Air New Zealand (787-9), China Southern (787-8), Etihad (787-9), Scoot (787-9) and Thai (787-8).

*** 1st Visit and type to Perth and 1st Visit and type to Australia***

*** 1st Visit and type to Perth and 1st Visit and type to Australia***
UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Perth Airport – 15 May 2016.
On finals for runway 21 at 11:48 am.
Photo © Keith Anderson (Photographed using Canon cameras and lenses)

20 February 2016 © David Eyre (UPDATED 23 March 2016, 8 April 2016, 23 April 2016, 7 May 2016, 10 May 2016, 12 May 2016, 13 May 2016, 14 May 2016, 15 May 2016, 16 May 2016, 17 May 2016)

The mighty six-engined Antonov An-225 Mriya (‘Dream’), arrived in Perth on 15 May 2016, arriving staying for two days – dates and times (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):

  • Sun 15 May 2016: Arrived 11.52AM

  • Tue 17 May 2016: Departing 5:30AM, taking off at 5:40AM (UPDATED 17 May 2016: see comments below)

UPDATE Tuesday 17 May 2016: The An-225 is scheduled to depart on Tuesday 17 May 2016 at 5:30am and take off at 5:40am, as flight number ADB3655. It will be flying direct to Dubai World Centre Airport (Al Maktoum) in the United Arab Emirates, then Milan (Italy), and later to Leipzig (Germany), Cairo (Egypt), then Abu Dhabi (UAE).

At the time of writing (4am Tuesday) Runway 03 is in use, so the An-225 will start the take-off run at southern end, and be airborne by north end. The Public Viewing Area on Dunreath Drive and Terminal 1 (International) Observation Deck on Level 3 are already open.

Forecast winds for the departure time are light (NNW at 5 knots).

NOTE: Take-off direction is subject to change, dependent on winds at the time of departure. AviationWA recommends checking FlightRadar24.com or Planefinder.com (or their phone apps) to see which runway the aircraft are using.

  • Sunday 15 May 2016: Kuala Lumpur air traffic delays caused the An-225 to depart late, at 6:11AM Malaysian time. It arrived in Perth at 11:52am on runway 21 (north end), as we predicted.  The aircraft then continued along the full length of the runway to slowly taxy past the Antonov Special Zone, on the southeast side of the runway. Spectators at the Dunreath Drive Public Viewing Area also had a good view.
  • Saturday 14 May 2016: The An-225 departed Hyderabad, India and arrived at Kuala Lumpur.
  • Friday 13 May 2016: The An-225 departed Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan and arrived at Hyderabad, India. On Saturday, it departs for Kuala Lumpur.
  • Thursday 12 May 2016: The An-225 departed Prague with the power generator aboard. Whilst en-route there appears to have been was a technical issue, as two sets of main wheels were not retracted. The aircraft reached its planned destination of Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan, where the undercarriage problem was fixed and the aircraft refuelled whilst the crew rested.
  • Wednesday 11 May 2016: The Brush power generator was loaded aboard the aircraft by international logistics company DB Schenker.
  • Tuesday 10 May 2016: The An-225 departed its home base at Gostomel (near Kiev), Ukraine and has arrived at Prague, Czech Republic, where it will be loaded with the massive 117-tonne generator.

The An-225 is the longest and heaviest aircraft ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes, and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. It was designed and developed in the 1980s as a derivative of the An-124, to carry the Russian ‘Buran’ space shuttle above the fuselage.

Deutsche Welle TV, a German television broadcaster, is creating a documentary depicting the journey of the generator and will travel on board the plane all the way from Prague to Perth.

Flight updates

Spectator arrangements (for 15 May)

Spectators are visiting from various parts of Australia, specifically to see this aircraft.

The aircraft will land against the wind.

The spectator arrangements have been made on the assumption that on 15 May, it will land on the main runway (Runway 21), approaching from the north. However, if the winds are from the north or east, it will approach from the south.

If it lands on the north end of the main runway, it will continue rolling to the southern end before turning off the runway and onto taxiway C11, and will slowly taxy north, past the special ‘Antonov Event Zone’ – some vacant land between the taxiway and Airport Drive.

The Antonov Event Zone opens at 7:00AM. It is sandy/muddy and not paved, so please dress appropriately (closed in shoes) for the conditions. Amenities such as toilets and food vans will be on site. This is a no smoking event and no pets are allowed on site. Parking is free of charge in Long Term Car Parks G and K (see map below). Standard parking fees will apply in all other car parks.

The aircraft will park opposite the International Terminal on a remote parking bay.

The Observation Deck in Terminal 1 International has limited capacity and is expected to be full early, with long queues of spectators and long wait times. Perth Airport will therefore impose time restrictions and clear all visitors every 30 minutes.

There is restricted viewing in the other terminals (T1 Domestic, T3 and T4), and they are not recommended vantage points.

The Public Viewing Area on Dunreath Drive will be open from 7:30AM, but only has capacity for 400 people and is also expected to fill up very quickly. The gates will be closed when the car park is full.

Perth Airport will provide updates via twitter @perthairport

 

Airport-Drive-Map

The cargo

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic - Wed 11 May 2016. Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft. Photo courtesy DB Schenker

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic – Wed 11 May 2016.
Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft.
Photo courtesy DB Schenker

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic - Wed 11 May 2016. Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft. Photo courtesy DB Schenker

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic – Wed 11 May 2016.
Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft.
Photo courtesy DB Schenker

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic - Wed 11 May 2016. Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft. Photo courtesy Antonov Company

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic – Wed 11 May 2016.
Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft.
Photo courtesy Antonov Company

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic - Wed 11 May 2016. Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft. Photo courtesy Antonov Company

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic – Wed 11 May 2016.
Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft.
Photo courtesy Antonov Company

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic - Wed 11 May 2016. Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft. Photo courtesy Antonov Company

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic – Wed 11 May 2016.
Logistics company DB Schenker loading the 117-tonne Brush power generator onto the aircraft.
Photo courtesy Antonov Company

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic - Wed 11 May 2016. Antonov crew standing in front of the aircraft. Photo courtesy Antonov Company

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763/01-01) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Prague Airport, Czech Republic – Wed 11 May 2016.
Antonov crew standing in front of the aircraft.
Photo courtesy Antonov Company

The flight was arranged by the Australian arm of the international transport and logistics company DB Schenker, which has a extensive experience in handling challenging and difficult shipments for some of the world’s largest resources projects.The company employs 990 people in Australia and 65,000 employees in 130 countries around the world.

“Organising airfreight via an Antonov 225 is a particular highlight because it’s a unique challenge with a very special aircraft”, says Frank Vogel, Director – Projects / Oil and Gas, AU / NZ, DB Schenker.

The aircraft will be delivering an ultra-heavy 117-Tonne power generator for a mining company, flying from Prague in the Czech Republic, with several refuelling stops en-route across Eurasia and South East Asia before it finally reaches Perth.

The Project Management and execution of this challenging shipment will be handled by DB Schenker’s Adelaide and Perth Offices, working in conjunction with the supplier in Europe and the Western Australian site to ensure a safe and smooth delivery of the equipment.

Antonov An-225: Interesting Facts and Specifications

  • The An-225 is the world’s largest operational heavier-than-air aircraft in terms of length and wingspan (see diagram below).
  • It has set 240 world records, including heaviest cargo load (253.8 tons) and longest cargo (two 42.1-metre wind turbine blades).
  • The aircraft has six engines, which generate 140 tons of thrust at take-off. The aircraft burns 24 tonnes of fuel per hour and cruises at 800 km/hour.
  • An-225 was built to carry outsized cargo inside the fuselage (up to 250 tonnes – equivalent to 50 cars) or externally on top of the fuselage (up to 200 tonnes), such as the Buran space shuttle.
  • The twin tails were to allow it to carry external cargo loads on its back.
  • The nose cone hinges upwards to allow cargo to be loaded.
  • The cargo hold is 43 metres long, 6.4 metres wide and 4.4 metres tall.
  • The cargo hold has a four-point lifting crane which can carry up to 30 tonnes. The crane can move along rails on the roof to ease loading and unloading.
  • Fully loaded, the aircraft weighs 640 tonnes and would require 3.2 kilometres of runway to take off.
  • 32 wheels spread the weight of the aircraft when it is on the ground. The An-225 has nosegear designed to kneel down, so cargo can be more easily loaded and unloaded. There are 20 steerable wheels: four in the nose gear and 16 at the rear of the 28-wheel main gear, to help maneuver on the ground.
  • Only one An-225 was completed; a second An-225 was partly built, but stored – it would cost over $300 million to complete it.
  • An even bigger aircraft was planned, the 8-engined An-325, but this never got off the drawing board.
  • An-225 was designed and built in the Ukraine, and is based at Gostomel Airport, Ukraine.
  • An-225 is based on the smaller An-124 (also a large aircraft), with 90% parts commonality, but the An-225 has a different tail and no rear loading ramp. 55 An-124s were built and these have visit Western Australia occasionally.
  • First flew in 1988. Was stored for 7 years (1994 – 2001) and stripped of spare parts, following the end of the Buran space shuttle program in 1991. Was refurbished during 2000-2001 and re-entered service.
  • With no cargo aboard, it can take 355 tonnes of fuel – enough to stay airborne for 18 hours or 14,000 km.
  • The aircraft has 19 crew members for this flight. There are six seats in the cockpit; two pilots, two flight engineers, a navigator and a radio operator. A relief navigator and relief radio operator sit in the front crew compartment. In addition, there are 11 technicians in the crew; a Load master/Senior engineer, two engineers, fuel and fire fighting technicians, two hydraulics and landing gear technicians, an airframe and controls technician, a pneumatics and air con technician, an electrician, an instrument technician, a radio technician, a test systems technician and a flight manager.
  • Half of the crew and the passengers (including a German TV documentary crew for this flight) stay in the rear crew compartment, in the upper rear fuselage. There is no access between the front and rear compartments during flight, as the cargo hold is not pressurised.
  • The An-225 is expensive to operate – it is reportedly cheaper to use two An-124s.
  • The An-225 has performed humanitarian flights, delivering supplies and equipment to disaster zones. 
  • The aircraft has two auxillary power units (APUs) – miniature gas turbine engines – to generate its own electrical power when on the ground.
Size comparison of the world's largest aircraft. Drawing by Clem Tillier (clem AT tillier.net) - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1098131

Size comparison of the world’s largest aircraft.
Drawing by Clem Tillier (clem AT tillier.net) – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1098131

Crew: 6 Empty weight: (zero-fuel-weight) 175 tonnes
Length: 84 m Max take-off weight: 600 tonnes
Wingspan: 88.4 m Cargo hold – volume 1,225 cbm (L 43.35m, W 6.4m, H 4.4m)
Height: 18.1 m Power plant: 6 × ZMKB Progress D-18 turbofans, 229.5 kNeach
Wing Area: 905 sq m Flight range with 200 tonne payload: 4,000 km

Design and differences to the An-124

Registered UR-82060 and owned by Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau), the An-225 was designed and built by the Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union. It is the only flying example.

The An-225 is reportedly expensive to operate, so it is only used to transport extremely large and heavy cargo loads that cannot be carried by the An-124.

The An-225 was developed by enlarging the An-124 – fuselage barrel extensions were added in front of and behind the wings, which were also enlarged to increase span. Two more Progress D-18T turbofan engines were added to the larger wing, bringing the total to six. Stronger landing gear with 32 wheels was added, and some of these wheels can be steered to enable the massive aircraft to turn within a 60-metre wide runway. It is not designed for short runway operations.

It also differs to the smaller An-124 by not having a rear cargo door and ramp – these were deleted to reduce weight. The tail was redesigned from a single vertical fin to have twin tails on a widened tailplane – this was necessary to allow the aircraft to carry outsized loads externally, such as the Russian Buran space shuttle.

History of UR-82060

Completed on 21 December 1988 at Gostomel, Ukraine, registered CCCP-480182.

Displayed at the Paris Air Show in June 1989, now registered CCCP-82060, carrying the 60-tonne Buran space shuttle on top.

CCCP-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763) of Antonov Design Bureau with Buran space shuttle atop at Paris Air Show - Paris-Le Bourget - June 1989. Photo via Buran-Energia.com

CCCP-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763) of Antonov Design Bureau with Buran space shuttle atop at Paris Air Show – Paris-Le Bourget – June 1989.
Photo via Buran-Energia.com

It was given the Ukrainian registration UR-82060 in 1993.

After the Buran space shuttle program was cancelled, the An-225 was withdrawn from use at Gostomel, in April 1994, with a total flying time of 671 hours and 339 flights. It was stripped of spare parts for use on Antonov Airlines’ An-124 fleet – the six engines were removed for use on An-124s.

Antonov realised that there was a need for an aircraft capable of carrying larger and heavier loads than the An-124. UR-82060 was refurbished in 2000 at a cost of $20 million, with a new cockpit, avionics and safety systems, new passenger cabin on the upper deck, reinforced fuselage to carry heavier payloads and Stage III hush kits on the engines. It made its first flight on 7 May 2001, after 7 years on the ground.

UR-82060 holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single item payload of 189,980 kilograms (418,834 pounds) and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kilograms (559,577 pounds). It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kilograms (545,000 pounds) on a commercial flight.

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Asian Aerospace 1994, Singapore - 23 February 1994. Parked next to a US Air Force Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, which was once the world's largest operational aircraft. Photo © Keith Anderson

UR-82060 Antonov An-225 Mriya (MSN 19530503763) of Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) at Asian Aerospace 1994, Singapore – 23 February 1994.
Parked next to a US Air Force Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, which was once the world’s largest operational aircraft.
Photo © Keith Anderson

Second An-225 and the even larger An-325

Construction of a second An-225 was started in the late 1980s, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union and due to lack of funds, construction ceased in 1994 and it was placed in storage at Kiev.

In September 2006, Antonov announced that it would complete the second An-225 by 2008, but this was then delayed.

By August 2009, the aircraft was about 60-70% complete when work was stopped due to lack of funds. Completion requires at least $300 million and three years.

In April 2013, the Russian government announced plans to revive air launched spacecraft, using a modified An-225 as a mid-air launchpad, but the Ukraine/Russia conflict ended these plans.

Antonov had plans to build an even larger An-325 with eight engines, but this did not make it off the drawing board.

TF-AAK Boeing 747-428 (MSN 32868/1325) leased by Iron Maiden from Air Atlanta Icelandic, named 'Ed Force One' at Perth Airport - Fri 13 May 2016. Being used by the band Iron Maiden on their 'Book of Souls' World Tour, arriving from Adelaide with the callsign 'ATLANTA 666' for a concert in Perth on 14 May. On the nose it lists the 47 cities where the band is performing. The lead singer Bruce Dickinson is an experienced airline pilot and was trained to fly this aircraft. Ex F-GITH of Air France. Photo © David Eyre

TF-AAK Boeing 747-428 (MSN 32868/1325) leased by Iron Maiden from Air Atlanta Icelandic, named ‘Ed Force One’ at Perth Airport – Fri 13 May 2016.
Being used by the band Iron Maiden on their ‘Book of Souls’ World Tour, arriving from Adelaide with the callsign ‘ATLANTA 666’ for a concert in Perth on 14 May. On the nose it lists the 47 cities where the band is performing. The lead singer Bruce Dickinson is an airline pilot and was trained to fly this aircraft. Ex F-GITH of Air France.
Photo © David Eyre

TF-AAK Boeing 747-428 (MSN 32868) of Air Atlanta Icelandic at Perth Airport – 13 May 2016.

TF-AAK Boeing 747-428 (MSN 32868) of Air Atlanta Icelandic at Perth Airport – 13 May 2016.
Flying English heavy metal band, Iron Maiden, around the world for their “Book of Souls World Tour and named Ed Force One, after a competition on the bands website, she is seen here on finals for runway 24 at 3:42 pm.
Photo © Keith Anderson (Photographed using Canon cameras and lenses)

7 May 2016 © David Eyre (Updated 14 May 2016)

Rock band Iron Maiden is flying into Perth from Adelaide on the afternoon of 13 May 2016, aboard their chartered Boeing 747-400, TF-AAK, ‘Ed Force One’.

The 747 has been chartered from Air Atlanta Icelandic as part of the band’s ‘Book of Souls’ World Tour, and is being flown by the band’s lead singer, Bruce Dickinson, who is a qualified commercial pilot. The aircraft is named ‘Ed Force One’ after the band’s mascot, Eddie, who features on all of their album covers, and the Eddie is also painted on the tail.

The tour started on 19 February 2016, and the aircraft will make 50 stops in 35 countries, on six of the seven continents (Australasia, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Europe) as part of the 47-concert tour.

Why a 747?

In previous world tours in 2008, 2009 and 2011, Iron Maiden previously used Boeing 757-200 aircraft chartered from Bruce Dickinson’s employer, Air Astraeus, which later ceased operations.

The 757s required conversion to combi configuration (passenger/freight on the main deck) to fit all of the band’s equipment.

The band decided that a Boeing 757 was not big enough for this tour. The larger Boeing 747 can transport the crew and 12 tons of stage gear – the band modified the stage equipment, so that it would fit on pallets in the underfloor cargo hold.

The 747’s longer range means that it does not have to make multi-sector trips, enabling long flights such as Shanghai to Auckland and Perth to Cape Town (South Africa), where the band will perform after the Perth concert.

History of Ed Force One

  • 2003: Built for Air France as a 747-428, powered by General Electric CF6-80C2B1F engines. Cabin configured for 36 Business Class and 396 Economy Class seats.
  • 5 March 2003: First flight at Everett, Seattle as F-GITH.
  • 31 March 2003: Delivered to Air France
  • 22 October 2015: Withdrawn from service
  • 28 October 2015: Flown to Lourdes, France and stored.
  • 23 November 2015: Re-registered TF-AAK, to Air Atlanta Icelandic.
  • February 2016: Painted in Iron Maiden ‘Ed Force One’ special livery.
  • 19 February 2016: Chartered to Iron Maiden and commenced ‘Book of Souls’ world tour, flown lead singer/airline pilot Bruce Dickinson.
  • 12 March 2016: Damaged at Santiago, Chile, when it was being towed and the steering pin fell out. The aircraft had no steering and collided with a ground tug, damaging two engines and the undercarriage.
  • 22 March 2016: Returned to service following repairs.
  • 13 May 2016: Arrived in Perth from Adelaide.
  • 15 May 2016: Departs Perth at 11:30am to Cape Town, South Africa.

The aircraft uses radio call sign ‘ATLANTA 666’.

Pilot and Lead Singer, Bruce Dickinson

Lead singer Bruce Dickinson had loved aviation since he was a boy.

Iron Maiden’s drummer Nicko McBrain was learning to fly in a Piper Cherokee with an instructor and they gave Bruce a lift from France to the island of Jersey. Bruce later took a trial flight at Kissimmee, Florida and decided to learn to fly.

He trained at Ardmore, New Zealand and Leavesden, UK, and obtained his pilot’s licence in 1991, initially flying small single-engine light aircraft. He later furthered his training to get additional ratings and acquired a Piper PA-23 Turbo Aztec E.

In 1993, he left the band and commenced a career in commercial aviation. He started flying as a co-pilot with Air Atlantique in the UK and purchased a Cessna 421.

He later flew twin-engine turboprops and small jets. He began flying for British World Airlines, but that airline collapsed in 2001, soon after the September 11 terror attacks.

Following this, he flew for Astraeus Airlines in the UK, initially on Boeing 737s, before converting to the Boeing 757. Astraeus ceased operations in November 2011 – Dickinson was the captain of their last flight.

He is now Chairman of Cardiff Aviation, a maintenance and overhaul facility at the former RAF base at St Athan, Wales, which also conducts flight simulator training. He also invested in Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), the British-based developer of Airlander 10 hybrid airship at Cardington, Bedfordshire.

Dickinson now has over 20 years’ and 7,000 hours of flying experience.

He had to train for around six weeks to learn how to fly the 747-400, training in simulators at Cardiff and in Florida.

05-20001 Sikorsky MH-60M Blackhawk of the US Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, at Langley Park, Perth - Fri 13 May 2016. One of three MH-60Ms temporarily deployed to RAAF Base Pearce for an exercise with the Australian Army.  As part of the training they need to be able to safely medivac any potential patients to Royal Perth Hospital, and this MH-60 landed at Langley Park to work with St John Ambulance WA to transfer patients from the helicopters into the hospital.  Photo © Glen Knight

05-20001 Sikorsky MH-60M Blackhawk of the US Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, at Langley Park, Perth – Fri 13 May 2016.
One of three MH-60Ms temporarily deployed to RAAF Base Pearce for an exercise with the Australian Army. As part of the training they need to be able to safely medivac any potential patients to Royal Perth Hospital, and this MH-60 landed at Langley Park to work with St John Ambulance WA to transfer patients from the helicopters into the hospital.
Photo © Glen Knight

3 May 2016 © David Eyre

Three US Army Sikorsky MH-60M Black Hawk helicopters assigned to the US Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) ‘Night Stalkers’ are flying in and around Perth, Western Australia, as part of a joint training exercise between Australian and US military forces during May and June 2016.

The Blackhawks are deployed to RAAF Base Pearce, north of Perth, and have been seen over Innaloo, Swanbourne and Northam. They are also operating in the ADF’s Bindoon Training Area.

These are the latest special operations versions of the Black Hawk and were first noted in the area on 3 May 2016.

Presumably working with the Australian Army’s Special Air Service Regiment, the objective is to provide realistic training scenarios in built-up areas. This exercise is part of a regular training program.

A similar exercise with Australian Army Blackhawks in 2015 generated a lot of interest – and noise complaints.

VH-XMO Boeing 737-376)SF) (MSN 23488/1352) of Qantas Freight (operated by Express Freighters Australia), with Australia Post/StarTrack branding, during the unveiling at Sydney Airport - Sat 30 April 2016. Photo © Qantas

VH-XMO Boeing 737-376)SF) (MSN 23488/1352) of Qantas Freight (operated by Express Freighters Australia), with temporary Australia Post/StarTrack branding, during the unveiling at Sydney Airport – Sat 30 April 2016. Photo © Qantas

2 May 2015 – David Eyre

Qantas and Australia Post have announced that part of the Qantas Freight fleet will be dedicated and branded for Australia Post / StarTrack.

As part of the announcement, Boeing 737-300F VH-XMO had temporary Australia Post/ StarTrack decals applied, but these were removed shortly afterwards.

From July 2016, six freighter aircraft will feature StarTrack livery:

  • one Boeing 737-400F (yet to be delivered)
  • two Boeing 737-300F
  • three British Aerospace 146-300F

With delivery of the 737-400F, Qantas Freight will have a total of 14 aircraft. Australia Post also retains priority access to cargo space in the Qantas Group’s passenger fleet.

Qantas has had a longstanding relationship with postal services, stretching back to airmail services in 1922. Qantas and Australia Post formed Australian air Express in 1992 as a 50:50 joint venture, originally using Boeing 727-200F aircraft and later some ex-Qantas 737-300Fs converted to freighters. In 2003, Qantas and Australia Post purchased courier company Star Track Express, but in 2012, Qantas sold its share of StarTrack to Australia Post, with Qantas buying out Australia Post’s 50 per cent share in Australian air Express. Qantas and Australia Post signed a 5-year contract in 2015 worth over $500 million, for the transport of Australia Post’s domestic mail, parcels and Express Post until mid-2020.

Artist impression of the Airbus A330-900neo in Garuda Indonesia livery. © Airbus

Artist impression of the Airbus A330-900neo in Garuda Indonesia livery. © Airbus

19 April 2016 © David Eyre

Garuda Indonesia has confirmed an order for 14 Airbus A330-900neo, the new re-engined version of the A330, for delivery from 2019 onwards.

The order replaces and extends an existing order for seven A330-300 aircraft, which have not yet been delivered. The airline has not mentioned its previously announced plans of ordering up to 30 A350 XWBs.

The deal was signed in London in the presence of the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo and British Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Garuda Indonesia plans to use the A330neo to develop its medium and long haul network. The airline currently uses its fleet of 24 Airbus A330s on once daily services between Denpasar (Bali) and Perth, and Boeing 737-800s on services between Jakarta and Perth.

The aircraft will have Airbus’ all new Airspace cabin and will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. The new engines and aerodynamic enhancements reduce fuel consumption by 14% per seat and increase range by up to 400 nautical miles.

Garuda has been an Airbus customer since 1981, when the airline took delivery of its first Airbus A300.