BANGOR, Maine — Although more than 100 people lined both sides of Maine Avenue — a prime vantage point for local plane spotting — hoping to catch a glimpse of the world’s biggest airplane late Wednesday afternoon, it was not meant to be.
Word that the Antonov An-225 was scheduled to touch down at Bangor International Airport shortly after 4 p.m. spread quickly earlier in the day.
The Russian-made plane, built in the 1980s, spans nearly the area of a football field from nose to tail and wingtip to wingtip, according to one account published in Popular Mechanic.
The An-225’s planned stop at BIA was spotted on FlightAware.com, a searchable website that offers free flight tracking services for both private and commercial air traffic.
News of the potential plane-spotting opportunity spread further through social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
Within an hour of the plane’s scheduled landing time, however, the FlightAware link to the flight no longer was active.
BIA Director Tony Caruso confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the An-225 was not, in fact, landing in Bangor.
It was not immediately clear why the plane’s flight plan changed or if it landed elsewhere in the United States.
Among those who flocked to Maine Avenue hoping to see the big bird were Megan Lee and her boys, Tristan, 8, and 4-year-old David. Also along for the ride was the Lees’ dog, Tobi.
“David has autism, so he is very particular on trains and planes, so this is like a focus reward to encourage him, and Tristan has always loved trains,” the Bangor mom said shortly before the official word came down that the An-225 was not landing in Bangor.
Also hoping to see the world’s largest aircraft was Shannon Harris, who moved to Greater Bangor from Colorado.
“I read about it on Facebook. I was hoping to see this huge plane that I’d never seen before,” she said.
“The reason I’m actually here, though, is because my husband, [William Harris], is a former Marine, and he is currently up at Eastern Maine [Medical Center] with some health issues.
“I wanted to take this video home to him, but my hearsay is that the plane’s not coming, which is kind of sad, now,” she said, just before the crowd along the airport’s fence began to thin out.