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Today was a big event for aviation fans where I live (Warsaw, Poland, EPWA). We have had a visit of Antonov 225 (Mriya).

Today, but also as I saw in other videos, it often (always?) performs a low-pass first and only then lands. Why is that? I bet this is about safety, but...

  • is it mandated by some official rules?
  • or by some internal rules of the operating airline?

What kind of information does the pilot need which they wouldn't get by reading the maps, diagrams or by talking to ATC?

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  • $\begingroup$ This wasn't an airshow, just a cargo trip? $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Apr 14 '20 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ @GdD Yeah, a cargo trip (with medical supplies! I wonder what led to the An-225 being roped in for that!) from China. $\endgroup$
    – gsnedders
    Apr 14 '20 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ Just an educated guess, it's probably to have the tower check that the landing gear is down and locked, $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Apr 14 '20 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ Trivial, perhaps, but the crew know that the aircraft attracts attention wherever it goes. Maybe they're just showing it off a bit. Good public relations for Antonov. $\endgroup$ Apr 14 '20 at 21:58
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As of the time of writing this answer, this only appears to have happened in one out of the last 6 flights of the AN-225 (the same flight into Warsaw you mentioned, https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/ur-82060#245b19c0) so I can't say that this is an official "rule", a standard of any kind or any procedure regarding the AN-225.

There are 2 other videos of that particular landing on YouTube:


It is clear in both videos that the first approach is done with the landing gears up, most likely on purpose "for the show", of course with coordination with ATC.

If someone is fluent in Ukrainian they can confirm it quite easily since the communication between the pilots can be clearly heard in the video you provided.

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The best answer? Most likely, they are getting in practice approaches and pattern work while saving their tire life (gets pricey having to replace 36 tires for some touch and go practice).

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There are many possibilities. It might have been a landing gear check, or maybe the crew noticed something wrong last minute and performed a go-around at last second. There aren't much regulations on low-passes, but usually pilots do low passes because they either have not been in that airport and are not experienced, or they are flying an uneasy plane, for example, the AN-225. They do this because they want to get a feel for the approach, that way, it's harder to make a mistake, and you'll feel more comfortable on landing.

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    $\begingroup$ Everything beyond the 1st 2 sentences makes little sense for experienced pilots flying into an international airport. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Apr 15 '20 at 0:37

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