As world record attempts go it may strike many as plane bonkers.
But a British driver has accelerated into the Guinness Book of Records by successfully towing a 285-tonne Airbus A380 superjumbo – the biggest passenger aeroplane on the planet – using a standard Porsche Cayenne sports utility vehicle (SUV).
And that was after the UK Porsche team behind the record-breaking attempt drove the car – more usually seen on school runs – from London to Paris to carry out the feat. The German 4X4, driven by Porsche GB technician Richard Payne, towed the giant Air France double-decker aircraft over a distance of 42-metres at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, to set a new Guinness World Records title for ‘Heaviest aircraft pull by a production car’.
It beat the previous record by a margin of 115-tonnes.
A far cry from towing the standard caravan, trailer or horse-box, the Porsche Cayenne was connected to the Airbus A380 via a special attachment that sat on the vehicle’s standard tow bar.
Slowly but surely as Porsche’s Mr Payne pressed down on the accelerator, the Cayenne carefully pulled away with the giant passenger plane edging forward inch by inch behind it and then gradually picking up the pace as both car and aircraft gained in momentum.
Mr Payne, a technician at Porsche GB, who drove the record breaking car said: ‘It did it – I’m so relieved! We don’t usually go this far to test the limits of our cars but I think today we got pretty close. I could tell that it was working hard but the Cayenne didn’t complain and just got on with it. My mirrors were quite full of Airbus, which was interesting.
Our cars can go a bit beyond what our customers might expect – they’re designed to be tough. But even so, what the Cayenne did today was remarkable.
Pravin Patel, adjudicator, Guinness World Records said: ‘I’ve verified some amazing record attempts during my time as a Guinness World Records adjudicator – watching a Porsche Cayenne tow one of the largest aircraft in the world definitely ranks as among the most spectacular. My congratulations go out to all those involved in achieving this remarkable feat.’
The previous world record, broken by the Porsche Cayenne, was set in August 2013 when an unmodified Nissan Patrol pulled an Russian Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane weighing 170.9 tonnes inclusive of fuel, at Sharjah International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.