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Giant Antonov 124 Aircraft Tentatively Set To Take Off From LB Airport Thursday Aug 9

Likely to take off over Los Altos, winds permitting

(August 7, 2001) -- The giant Antonov 124 cargo airplane that landed at LB Airport on August 1 is tentatively scheduled to take off on Thursday August 9 at roughly 9:00 a.m.

LB Airport officials advised that the massive aircraft, the largest regularly flown cargo plane in the world and larger than a C-17, will likely depart over Los Altos on runway 12, winds permitting. The plane is believed to be ferrying out empty.

Meanwhile, has further information on the satellite cargo believed to have been carried by the Antonov 124 from Nice, France to Vandenberg AFB before coming to LB Airport.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory web site advises that on July 31, a Jason 1 satellite (a joint project of NASA and CNES, the French space agency) arrived at Vandenberg AFB (near Ventura, CA) aboard an Antonov 124 aircraft to begin final preparations for launch no earlier than Sept. 15.

After its arrival at Vandenberg, the satellite was "transported to a clean room at Spaceport Systems International, located on the base. After French and U.S. project members complete their final adjustments and tests, the spacecraft will be fueled and turned over to the Boeing Company on Aug. 22 in preparation for launch."

JPL's web site says Jason 1 is the "follow-on to Topex/Poseidon, a U.S.-French spacecraft that has been making precise measurements of ocean surface topography since 1992. These data are used to map ocean currents, improve the understanding of ocean circulation, measure global sea level change and improve global climate forecasts."

After unloading its cargo at Vandenberg, the Antonov 124 flew to LB Airport on August 1, coming in over Los Altos on runway 30.

LB Airport officials said the plane is operated by a British firm handling large size cargo flights.

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