The world's largest plane is at Shannon Airport - for one day only
Shannon Airport is hosting the world’s largest airplane today, but aviation geeks better make haste - the Antonov 225 is scheduled to depart at 22.00 tonight.
The colossal plane - dubbed Mriya, meaning ‘Dream’ - touched down shortly before 3am this morning on a transit stop from Bangor International Airport in the US.
It can be seen clearly from the airport's viewing balcony, or viewing area 24, according to the Airport.
It is scheduled to continue its journey, from the US to France, at 10pm tonight.
The Antonov 225 - the only one of its kind - was designed and built by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukraine, and is operated by Antonov Airlines, the transport arm of the company.
With 32 wheels, six engines and a wingspan of 88.4 metres, it requires a runway of between 3,000m and 3,500m to take off. At 3,199m, Shannon's runway is the only one in Ireland capable of facilitating the plane.
The six-engine jet was intended to transport the Russian space shuttle Buran (see gallery above) to its launch site but was taken out of service when the space programme was ended in 1994.
In May 2001, following a €18 million refurbishment programme, it flew again.
This is not the first time the enormous aircraft has visited Shannon.
The 225 previously touched down in October 2006 and May 2013, attracting thousands of plane-spotters who blocked several country roads in an effort to catch a glimpse of the plane.
It departs at 10pm this evening for Châteauroux Airport, France.