Six giants – strategic transport aircraft An-124 – for the first time flew in a single formation under difficult weather conditions. During the flight, the correspondent managed to visit the cockpit for the first time – the Zvezda TV channel publishes unique footage.
Ten landing gear wheels only on one side at the back, as a structure smaller than such a large aircraft will not support. The An-124, codenamed Ruslan, is one of the largest strategic transport aircraft in the world. Its length and keel height can be compared to a five-story building with four doors. And now six of these aircraft will perform a unique task – they fly in a single formation under difficult weather conditions.
It is impossible to remove the An-124 during takeoff from a distance of less than 50 meters – it will blow off. The aircraft’s engines lift 180 tons into the air without cargo.
“Now we will get out of the cloud, the weather will be good, we will see a flying plane ahead. Now we are flying to the collection point. The peculiarity is that it is a large, very inert aircraft. It requires more sophisticated piloting, « – says the deputy commander of the regiment Viktor Vakhtin.
Therefore, this flight is unique. « Ruslan » is a solo aircraft, that is, it is not intended for combat flight. Vakhtin has been at the helm of the AN-124 only since September and already such a difficult task.
The commander transfers control to the navigator. He constantly counts something and draws along the ruler and at the same time manages to keep track of all the sensors and screens. There is equipment here that shows the time remaining to the target, a navigation, satellite system.
The point against the background of clouds is another An-124. The rapprochement happens quickly, the most intense moment comes. And here they are – mesmerizing shots. Build six Ruslans.
An-124 was born over 30 years ago, but it is still a serious competitor. He delivered consignments of Russian S-300s to Syria to fight terrorists, and in December he transferred equipment for Russian peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh. The Ruslan is called a strategic transport aircraft because it can take on board up to 880 soldiers – at a time, one plane is capable of transferring an entire regiment.
The volume of the Ruslan’s cargo compartment is one thousand and fifty cubic meters. It can fit five Mi-8 helicopters or two Su-24 fighters. The cab opens both from the back and from the front and is equipped with special automatic loading equipment. A plane can lift up to 120 tons into the air.
The formation of the An-124 is personally observed by the commander of the military transport aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces Vladimir Benediktov at the helm of another Il-76 transport aircraft.
“Understanding the current need for this type of aircraft and maintaining the level of training of the flight personnel, today we trained young crews on this type of aircraft,” he says.
The very fact that so many Ruslans were assembled in one day at one airfield is unusual in itself. Each of them is constantly involved in fulfilling the tasks of the RF Ministry of Defense in different parts of the world. And the very next day these planes will fly apart again.