BANGOR, Maine — With a lumbering sort of grace the world’s largest airplane touched down at Bangor International Airport for a refueling Saturday, a BIA official said.
The Antonov An-225 slowly taxied around another large airplane before parking at about 2:30 p.m. It didn’t exactly dwarf the other cargo hauler, but there was no question which of the two was larger.
The Ukrainian-made plane, built in the 1980s, spans nearly the area of a football field, from nose to tail and wingtip to wingtip, according to one account published in Popular Mechanics. It has six jet engines and a four stabilizers.
The airplane left Houston earlier Saturday after having touched down in Leipzig and Kiev the two days before, according to the website flightradar24.com, which lists itself as a flight tracking service that provides real-time information about thousands of aircraft around the world.
Angeline Palmer and John Ford took a break from their maintenance jobs at BIA to take a look at the massive cargo plane.
“We’re supposed to be at work, but we had to watch,” said Palmer, a 43-year-old Kenduskeag resident who is studying to be a machinist at Kennebec Valley Community College.
“It’s massive,” Ford said wonderingly. “Massive. Amazing.”
Fifteen-year-old Noah Tiemann, a Civil Air Patrol member, came from Ellsworth to see the jet with his father. Both were in the crowd of about a dozen people standing behind a chain-link fence and locked gate at the northwest end of the main terminal.
Shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday, the Antonov took off from BIA as small crowds gathered along Maine Avenue near the end of the runway took pictures and video. According to flightradar24.com, its next stop was Shannon Airport in Ireland, where it landed at about 2 a.m. on Sunday.
The Antonov has visited Bangor at least once before, including a refueling in August 2003.