Watch the Antonov An-124 Land at Maho Beach in St. Maarten
If there's two things that AvGeeks love, it's St. Maarten's Maho Beach and very large planes. Much of St. Maarten has been razed by Hurricane Irma last month, and Maho Beach, which grew famous for aircraft flying just feet over beachgoers' heads, was obliterated by the storm.
With the recovery and rebuilding efforts underway, aircraft have begun to use Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) again. But what many probably weren't expecting to see was the Antonov AN-124, a Ukrainian mega-jet, land on the small island. KLM's 747 used to be the biggest plane at the airport, until being taken off the route last year in favor of a smaller and less exciting Airbus 330. The 747 returned briefly last month to help bring in emergency supplies, but it got dwarfed by an even bigger beast: the Antonov.
While not as large as its big brother, the six-engined Antonov AN-225 — the biggest aircraft in the world — the 124 is still a giant. The AN-124 weighs 385,800 lbs empty, with a wingspan of 240 feet, and has a 24-wheel landing gear. If you want to put in perspective how much the aircraft can carry, included in the emergency relief supplies it delivered to the island were two full sized garbage trucks!
Just like all big planes at SXM, the AN-124 skims incredibly close to the beach to make a safe landing — and the video adds the deafening roar of the its four massive jet engines.
The Antonov flew from Willemstad, Curacao (CUR) to St. Maarten (SXM) on September 30.
Lastly, another video displays the Antonov's lengthy take off from the island:
H/T: The Drive