The pilot’s rest area inside an Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner – Photo: Howard Slutsken | Airways News
Often passengers on long-haul flights do not stop and think about the need for the flight crew to rest. Pilots and flight attendants only have a certain number of hours that they can work, and then they need their time to rest.
Some airlines opt for crew rest areas either above or below the passenger cabin of the aircraft, while others will have crew just use your standard passenger seat.
A crew rest sign means business – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter
We have had a chance to visit quite a few different rest areas and I have to say that one thing that most of them have in common is they are small. They probably wouldn’t be a good fit for those who are claustrophobic.
It is not always easy to get to the rest areas (normally, steep stairs or a ladder), and once you are in, there isn’t always too much room to maneuver. However, what they do offer is a private space, away from passengers, to get some rest.
We wanted to share the number of different crew rest areas that we have visited. Enjoy the photo tour:
An Antonov AN-124 parked next to the Future of Flight with a Boeing 747 Dreamlifter in the background – Photo: Future of Flight
It is hard to deny that Paine Field is freak’n awesome. Not only is this where Boeing builds all their new 747s, 767s, 777s and most of their 787s; it also houses old warbirds and often sees the Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter and sometimes an Antonov AN-124.
It is always fun when catching some of these aircraft together. Today, an AN-124 was caught parked next to the Future of Flight (backed in) with a Dreamlifter in the background saying, “why hello.” Both are very cool cargo planes and getting them in the same picture is pretty epic.
During a recent trip to Paine Field, an Antonov AN-124 with Volga Dnepr Airlines was blocking the taxi way. A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 (there for maintenance) had to taxi down the runway and turn around before take off. It it is intereting seeing the size difference between the two aircraft.
I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of an Antonov AN-124 that was parked next to the Future of Flight at Paine Field. Quite the unique experience — almost like traveling through time. To help to share that experience I also made this video… enjoy.
The AN-124 is kneeling with the nose up, ready to unload its cargo.
Getting solid numbers on how many have been built and are currently flying is not easy. From what I can find, it appears anywhere from 40 to 60 AN-124s have been built, with over 25 still in service today.
The AN-124 next to a Boeing Dreamlifter, which were both next to the Future of Flight.
The AN-124 was initially designed in the 1970’s to provide heavy transport for the Soviet military. The first airframe was started in 1979 and the first flight took place in December 1982.
Antonov ceased building the AN-124 after the fall of the Soviet Union, but due to demand, the AN-124 was put back into production and is still currently being built and mostly sold to private airlines who fly cargo around the world.
The cargo deck has its own crane system to easily load and unload cargo.
This past Saturday an AN-124 was spotted heading to Paine Field in Everett, WA. A group of AvGeeks rallied and headed to watch her land from the Strato Deck on the Future of Flight. I have seen the AN-124 a few times passing in person, but never in action — she is an impressive beast.
One thing I did not realize on the AN-124 is that the body can move down (much like a bus will kneel) to make the loading and unloading of cargo easier. Once the large nose lifted up, the plane lowered and two Boeing 747-8 fuselage panels were removed.
The aircraft also has an internal crane where a flat bed can pull right up to the aircraft and cargo can easily be loaded and unloaded.
The AN-124 flight deck holds six people. It is huge.
I was lucky enough to get access to the inside of the aircraft and what a trip — it was almost like traveling through time. The flight deck was huge, seating six people: two pilots, two navigators and two engineers. I am quite certain it was larger than my first apartment in college.
The forward part of the upper crew rest area behind the flight deck.
Behind the flight deck is a crew rest area with a lavatory, small kitchen and two seating areas that can convert into beds. There is a second upper deck behind the wings (we were not able to view) that is designed to hold up to 80 passengers or additional cargo.
One of the crew rest nooks with fax machine.
Walking around in the AN-124 felt more like being in a submarine than it did an aircraft. Things seemed to be laid out in a utilitarian way, not necessarily for looks or atmosphere. But really… what would you expect from the aircraft? It was designed for military operations.
The AN-124 as seen from the Strato Deck on the Future of Flight — the Dreamlifter was moved at this point.
The AN-124 is quite versatile in what it can haul. According to Antonov’s website, the plane been used to deliver,” a 90 ton hydraulic turbines, the Liebherr large dimension mobile crane, the USA Euclid mine truck, the fuselage of the Tu-204 passenger aircraft, a 109 ton locomotive, General Electric GE90 aircraft engines, various combat vehicles, Lynx anti-submarine helicopters, a spaceship in its container and other unique cargoes.”
Anotonov AN-124 taking off from Paine Field on Tuesday heading to California.
Antonov continues to provide additional packages to improve the payload, range, technology and all around cost effectiveness of the AN-124. It is likely we will be seeing these beautiful flying machines well into the future.
I will also be sharing a video of the AN-124 shortly, so stay tuned. Aircraft data from Wikipedia.org
GALLERY OF ADDITIONAL ANTONOV AN-124 PHOTOS
This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder. David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.