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Photographing a very large plane…

May 12, 2020, 11:30 PM

Today, Elyse and I headed up to BWI in order to photograph an Antonov An-124 Ruslan that was coming in for a landing.  For those not familiar, Antonov planes have helped transport various medical supplies to where they are needed in the fight against the coronavirus.  As I understand it, these movements are generally not publicized in advance, but the plane shows up on various aviation tracking apps, and as such when one is found, people tend to head out to spot them.  Elyse let me know, and after I warmed to the idea (I don’t take too kindly to requests for adventures before I even get out of bed), we went up to the aircraft observation park (we’ve photographed here before) to await it.

When we got there, there were a bunch of guys with cameras that had really big lenses, as well as radio scanners.  Then the winds shifted, and the planes started landing on another runway that is not very visible from the observation park.  All of the guys with the big lenses then left and headed to a nearby Royal Farms, which is an excellent vantage point for the other runway.  We followed them, assuming that they knew what they were doing.  Then after we got there, we saw all of the guys head back to the observation park, and we followed.  And then the plane, tail number RA-82042, came through:

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

The Antonov An-124 comes in for a landing at BWI, viewed from the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. Aircraft Observation Area.

After the plane landed, we headed elsewhere in order to spot it on the ground at the airport.  We ended up going back over near the aforentioned Royal Farms, where it was visible from the road:

The Antonov An-124 after having landed.

The Antonov An-124 after having landed.

All in all, not a bad time.  Considering that you don’t see a Soviet-era jet that often, this was definitely a treat to watch coming in.