Large plane was in Medford to deliver Erickson aircraft
I saw that picture of the Antonov AN-124 landing at the Rogue Valley airport. Now I’m wondering, what was it doing here?
— T. Bolling, via email
One of the largest commercial aircrafts in the world did indeed touch down at the Medford airport, and it was here on business.
An Antonov AN-124 operated by the Russian airline Volga-Dnepr was in Southern Oregon to transport an Erickson Air-Crane helicopter out of the country, according to Erickson Vice President Chris Schuldt, who is responsible for Erickson’s international business development team.
Schuldt declined to say what Erickson aircraft the supersized Russian airplane was tasked with delivering or where it was headed, except that Erickson only uses the large planes for “international logistics” — meaning aircraft destined outside of the country.
Volga-Dneper and its AirBridgeCargo airlines is a leading shipper around the globe with a wide variety of services, according to their website — with divisions that include transportation of healthcare equipment and pharmaceuticals, high-end automobiles and — as you witnessed — the aerospace industry.
The AN-124 was produced from 1982 to 2004, and is designed to fly as much as 150 tons. The one that touched down in Medford Wednesday was built in 1991, according to Planefinder.net.
According to Wikipedia, a version of the heavy transport aircraft appeared in the 2002 James Bond movie “Die Another Day,” when Bond’s foe uses the aircraft to escape North Korea.
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