A PLANE fan could hardly believe his eyes when he glanced up into the skies above Huddersfield.
For Nick Hurt was sure he had spotted the world's largest plane as it vanished behind some clouds.
Nick, 43, of Honley, thought he had spotted an Antonov An-225 on Sunday.
The name means nothing to most people, but to plane enthusiasts it means everything.
This vast cargo plane is the biggest in the world and only one is flying.
Nick's eyes had not deceived him.
It was an Antonov An-225 - designed to carry the Russian equivalent of the Space Shuttle - on its way to Manchester Airport.
It has now been loaded with staging and lighting equipment and took off yesterday to Nigeria for a major concert featuring American music stars Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rimes.
Manchester Airport spokesman Trevor Evers said: "The Antonov has caused quite a stir and the viewing areas have been crammed with people.
"It's parked in an area where people can get a great view.
"It is the biggest plane in the world and this is the only one flying."
The Antonov had flown in from China and is bigger than the A380 super jumbo jet which is due to start commercial flights next year.
Nick said: "I was in the back of a car going down Leeds Road and glanced up through the sunroof.
"It was a massive plane with six engines and a distinctive tail fin.
"I've always been a plane enthusiast and so looked it up as soon as I got home and it was an Antonov An-225."
* Known as the Mriya, it is the world's largest aircraft.
* It is 84 m (276 ft) long and its wingspan is 88m (291ft).
* The maximum takeoff weight is 640,000 kg (1.4million lbs).
* It needs 3,500 m (11,500 ft) of runway space to take off with a full load.
* Top speed is 530mph and its cruise speed is 465 mph. It can fly up to 8,700 miles before refuelling - but only 2,500 miles with a full load - and can fly as high as 33,000ft.
* It was designed to carry the Russian space shuttle.
* It has a 32-wheel landing system.
* The plane is now available for hire to transport cargo that no other plane can handle.
* It is so big a Boeing 737 fuselage can fit in its hold.