Wow! What an experience! I ventured to Rockhampton Airport early on Saturday 6 September and from the General Aviation (GA) area, I was able to capture some stunning photos as Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) AN-124 UR-82008 (designated AN-124-100M-150 - Commcrcial transport version fitted with Western avionics) touched down on Rocky's Runway 15 just before 7am.
The giant AN-124 "Ruslan" arrived at Rockhampton as ADB2132 direct from Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore. It parked on Gate 6 at the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport apron.
I also captured a couple photos from the recently installed viewing platform that has been constructed by the Rockhampton Regional Council from a donated set of aircraft stairs.
After a couple of hours, the Antonov's front landing gear was raised and the massive aircraft was placed into its unique 'kneeling' position to allow the unloading of its cargo.
On this particular flight, the Antonov unloaded a pair of Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing CH-47SD Chinook helicopters - identified as 88195 and 88197. Engines were removed first, followed by the Chinooks, which were promptly towed to the Northern end of the Rocky Airport apron.
Over the coming days, the Chinooks will be put back together and test flown in preparation for the commencement of the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby which will kick-off on Monday 15 September.
UR-82008 will reportedly depart Rocky late on Sunday 7 September back to Paya Lebar via Darwin. It will however return to Rockhampton late on Tuesday 9 September, this time with four RSAF Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters.
A thoroughly enjoyable morning at Rockhampton Airport. Other spotters were out and about - stay tuned to the CQ Plane Spotting Blog for more great photos of this fantastic aircraft - and more!