Sky Harbor is playing host to a Russian guest for the next couple of weeks.
The massive Antonov-124 cargo plane is currently parked at the airport, awaiting its next assignment. The plane belongs to Russia-based Volga-Dnepr Air Cargo, specialized in hauling oversized air cargo all over the world. This AN-124 just finished hauling equipment to the Valley for Intel.
Due to the enormous costs to operate the aircraft, it will sit at Sky Harbor until its next job. It’s an impressive sight, and the unique Russian design definitely makes it stand out. It’s easy to spot the plane from I-10, south of the airport.
Empty, the AN-124 weighs 192 tons, and can carry over 200 tons of fuel. At over 220 feet long, 69 feet high and a wingspan of 240 feet, this enormous aircraft has transported everything from submarines to satellites. It is equipped with its own crane to load and unload cargo, and there is very little that this plane can’t haul.
Originally a Russian military plane, the AN-124 has been around since the early 1980’s. It takes six people to fly the plane, and the cockpit looks like something out of a movie. There are buttons and knobs literally everywhere, all labeled in Russian.
Volga-Dnepr makes occasional trips to the Valley, usually a couple of times each year.