The Antonov AN-225 Mriya was the largest aircraft in the world, a monstrous machine with 6 engines. From the Wright brothers’ first flight to the present day, the aviation world has never seen a more imposing aircraft. The Antonov Antonov AN-225 Mriya was designed in the 1980s for military, space, and cargo services. It was inaugurated with its first flight on 21 December 1988. Built in Soviet Ukraine, the aircraft had a length of 84 m, a wingspan of 88.4 m, and a weight of 285,000 kg (628,317 lb).
Unfortunately, the AN-225 Mriya was destroyed on 24 February 2022 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A report by UkrOboronProm, the parent company of Antonov, reported that there are plans to rebuild the aircraft and that the costs will be borne by Russia.
The Antonov AN-225 is well known to aviation enthusiasts around the world, but here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about the world’s largest aircraft.
5. Antonov AN-225 Mriya holds the record for the heaviest airborne transport
Due to its ability to carry 253 820 kg (559580 lb) of cargo according to Wikipedia, the aircraft holds numerous records. On 11 September 2001, four battle tanks were raised to a height of 10 750m. In total, the tanks weighed approximately 254 tonnes.
4. The aircraft was built to carry spacecrafts
The aircraft was originally built to carry Buran-class orbiters for the Soviet space program. However, this idea was abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The original purpose of the Antonov AN-225 Mriya is similar to that of the US Shuttle Carrier.
3. A second AN-225 Mriya aircraft was partially built
In the 1980s began the construction of a second AN-225 aircraft to serve the Soviet space program. Its development was left behind with the fall of the Soviet Union. However, in 2006 was made the decision to complete the construction of the second aircraft but its completion has been delayed due to lack of funds. OkrObononProm is still looking for partners to complete the construction of the aircraft but due to the conflict in Ukraine the situation has been hampered.
2. The aircraft’s first commercial flight carried food for Americans
After the Soviet Union collapsed, the AN-225 Mriya became part of the Antonov Airlines fleet and began carrying cargo on commercial flights. The first flight in commercial service took place on 3 January 2002. The aircraft departed from Germany with the destination Oman carrying 187.5 tons of food (210,000 food portions) for US military personnel.
1. The variant of an Antonov AN-225 Mriya with double-fuselage
After 1991 the Soviet space program started to have problems and they wanted to find another use and modifications for the AN-225 Mriya. Many options for modifying the aircraft were proposed, but the most out of the ordinary was the idea of an Antonov AN-225 with a double fuselage. An absolutely spectacular version of the aircraft with 18 engines. However, this idea never developed beyond a concept drawn on paper.