Category Archives: Aviation

We went to Germany to meet the An-225 Mriya, the world’s largest airplane

An-225 Mriya Stopped Over In Leipzig. And We Went There To Meet The Giant.

On Nov. 12, we visited Leipzig international airport, Germany, in order to have a closer look at the largest airplane in operational use: the Antonov An-225 Mriya.

Known under the NATO codename “Cossack”, the An-225 covered a route between Gostomel (Ukraine, homebase for the Mriya), Leipzig (Antonov airlines cargo hub), Doncaster and Baku.

Since both Antonov Airlines (using Mriya and the An-124 Ruslan cargo planes) and the Russian Volga-Dnepr Airlines company (operating Ruslan airlifters) are located in Leipzig (although the terminals are located in different parts of the airport), there is always a good chance of meeting at least one of the Antonov’s giants at the airport located in central Germany, to the southwest of Berlin.

An225 side

The Antonov An-225 has been designed at the end of Cold War. The main purpose of the aircraft was to carry the Soviet “Buran” space shuttle and parts of the “Energia” rocket on its back.

An225 landing

An225 ramp

At the moment, the sole existing example is used commercially, as an international cargo transporter.

Mriya is not the largest aircraft ever built – this title belongs to the Hughes H-4 Spruce Goose hydroplane, however, this aircraft made only a single flight. The Antonov’s name – Mriya – means “Dream” in Ukrainian language.

An225 closeup

The size of this aircraft is beyond anything one can imagine. For the sake of comparison, it must be noted that the cargo bay is longer than the distance of the first flight in history, made by the Wright brothers. Anyway, you won’t have a clear idea of the size of the Antonov’s largest airframe until you get an opportunity to meet it personally.

An225 and An124

Here’s the route the An-225 followed on Nov. 12 from Doncaster to Leipzig.

An-225 route

An-225 route (credit:

Image credit: Jacek Siminski

Watch Jetman fly in formation with an Emirates Airbus A380 over Dubai

Jetpack pilots form up with a giant A380 in an awesome video.

This is video is amazing.

It shows Jetman Dubai flying in formation with an Emirates Airbus A380 over Dubai.

Just think what jetpack-equipped pilots will be able to do in the next years, as skydivers will have enough speed to pursuit and intercept fast movers: as we suggested some years ago with a joke, you’ll have your low cost fighter jet solution to face the current financial crisis…

In the meanwhile enjoy this stunning footage of an unusual formation.

H/T Giulio Cristante for the heads-up


Gorgeous cockpit video of the last Vulcan bomber flying in formation with the Red Arrows for the last time

The last flying Vulcan Bomber, XH558, flew with the Red Arrows one last time at the Southport Air Show.

After taking part in air shows for eight years, the last flying Vulcan bomber will perform its final flights today taking part at Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon and at Shuttleworth Uncovered Air Show, which will end Old Warden Collection airshow season.

Avro Vulcan XH558 (carrying civil registration G-VLCN), is the only airworthy bomber of a fleet of 134 Vulcan V bombers operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 2

The aircraft made its maiden flight in 1960 and was retired from active service in 1984, then it continued to fly with the RAF’s Vulcan Display Flight, performing until 1992.

Its display career restarted in 2008, after the Vulcan To The Sky Trust was able to bring the bomber back to airworthy condition the previous year, but on May 15 this year it was announced that 2015 would have been the delta-winged aircraft’s final flying season.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 3

To salute the iconic plane, the Red Arrows display team performed a flypast with the mighty Cold War bomber for the last time during Southport Air Show on Sept. 19.

Squadron Leader David Montenegro, Red 1 and Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, remarked that “It was a great honour to lead a formation flypast with the Vulcan, particularly as the aircraft type was once based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire – now home to the Red Arrows.”

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 4

In the following beautiful video, taken from the cockpit of the bomber, you can join the Vulcan aircrew who flew with the Red Arrows for the final time.

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors covered Pope Francis’s Boeing 777 during his US tour.

A photo unveiled the presence of two Raptors close to “Shepherd One.”

During Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, the U.S. government carried out one of the largest domestic protective security operations in its history.

In fact, each U.S. military branch, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service (which is usually tasked to protect US president and vice president), and local-state police departments, joined together conducting a huge escort operation  to safeguard the Pope from a wide variety of attack possibilities.

As unveiled by Ian D’Costa in his article “America Deployed its Best Fighter to Cover the Pope’s Tour of the Country,” on, it seems that this impressive contingent also included the Lockheed Martin F-22, the U.S. Air Force fifth generation stealth fighter.

Indeed, as reported by D’Costa, shortly after Pope’s American Airlines Boeing 777 departed from New York heading to Philadelphia, a planespotter named Robert Dube, took a picture of an Airbus taking off from John F. Kennedy international airport with a KC-10 Extender refuelling a pair of F-22s in the background (top image).

Considered that Raptors don’t refuel over Manhattan or nearby too often, it is safe to assume that the aircraft were  deployed to counter a potential terrorist attack conducted by using a hijacked airliner.

Anyway the U.S. Air Force would have not allowed to any aircraft to penetrate the bubble erected to protect “Shepherd One” (as the aircraft in which the Pontiff is flying is nicknamed) and its most advanced air superiority fighter has been the best option to deter an intervention from any potential airborne threat.

Needless to say, it was probably not the only type of aircraft the Air Force committed to such task.

The Pope's return flight to Rome could be tracked online on

The Pope’s return flight to Rome could be tracked online on

Top image credit Robert Dube via Ian D’Costa (


Cool pictures show U.S. F-15Es flying in formation with Spitfires during Battle of Britain celebrations

The last airshow of the season at Duxford celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Among the highlights of the Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show that took place on Sep. 19-20,  there was a flypast made by two U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles of the 492nd Fighter Squadron from RAF Lakenheath, and two Spitfire Mk Is.

F-15E Spit 2

In fact, even if the airfield in Cambridgeshire is a very popular venue for warbirds enthusiasts, contemporary aircraft usually join classic aeroplanes, not only to commemorate historic events but also to boost the already spectacular flying display of the air show.

F-15E Spit 4

These cool photos, taken from the cockpit of one of the two F-15Es, give you a glimpse of what it is like to fly in formation with the iconic Spitfire.

F-15E Spit 5

Image credit: RAF Lakenheath/U.S. Air Force