The Antonov An-225 Mirya or in Ukrainian it is named as Антонов Ан-225 Мрія which translates to “Dream or Inspiration”. As for the NATO reporting name of the Antonov An-225, it is “Cossack”. This is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft which was designed by the company named Antonov Design Bureau back when the USSR in the 1980s.
The Antonov An-225 was designed to power by six turbofan engines. The aircraft is regarded as the world heaviest aircraft ever built with a maximum takeoff flight reaching up to 640 tones. This is not all, the Antonov An-225 also happens to be the only operational aircraft in the world with the largest wingspan.
The aircraft which was started manufacturing back in ’80s suffered from cutbacks on funding and was halted in 1994. However, Russia started the program back again in 2009. The first prototype of the Antonov An-225 was manufactured back in 1985 and took its first flight back on December 21st, 1988.
Until then only 1 complete model of this aircraft is built.
The Antonov An-225 was actually a better version of its predecessor Antonov An-124 and was initially designed to transport the Buran Spaceplane. The aircraft is only one of a kind and is currently serving under the Antonov Airlines as an aircraft for transporting large sized payloads.
For our readers today, we have gathered some of the interesting facts about the Antonov An-225; the world’s largest aircraft.
The idea for making the world’s largest aircraft was presented by the Antonov Design Bureau to the USSR back in the 1980s. The idea was given a go ahead and in short five years, the first model of the Antonov An-225 was manufactured.
After the Antonov An-225 was completed, the aircraft still suffered from many technical flaws which resulted in the first flight to be delayed until 1988. The aircraft finally took its first flight back on December 21st, 1988. At that time, this was the only aircraft in the world with the largest wingspan and to this day the aircraft still holds that record.
The Antonov An-225 has a nickname which is ‘Mirya’. The literal translation of the word is ‘Dream’.
Only one was ever built:-
After the USSR was dissolved, many of their projects also suffered major cutbacks on funding. One of those projects was the Antonov An-225. Back in the early 90’s work was being done to build another one of the Antonov An-225 but it was halted back on 1994.
However, the aircraft program was revived back in 2009 and the Antonov Design Bureau has agreed to complete the airframe of the second Antonov An-225 for the Aerospace Industry Corporation of China.
The initial purpose behind the designing and manufacturing of the Antonov An-225 was to use it as a transporter aircraft for the Buran Spaceplane.
The wingspan of the aircraft is measured to be almost 290 feet which makes it officially the only operational aircraft with the largest wingspan in the world. To put this in comparison, this wingspan is only a mere 10 feet short of the length of an entire football field.
Currently in use of Private Sector:-
The Buran Spaceplane project was canceled back in the late 80s after which the Antonov An-225 was then put to storage. After being kept without any use for 8 years, the aircraft was finally taken out and was acquired by Antonov Airlines. They refurbished it and used it for the transport of the large-sized payloads.
World Heaviest Aircraft:-
The Antonov An-225 is not only the world’s only aircraft with the largest wingspan it also happens to be the world’s heaviest aircraft. The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes.
The Antonov An-225 was designed to be powered by six turbofan engines. The engines installed in this beast of a machine are Progress D-18 turbofan engines. Each of these engines is able to produce a dry thrust of 51600 pounds.
As we said earlier, this is a beast of a machine; it also needs fuel like a beast. The aircraft has the maximum capacity of having 300000 kg of fuel and that does not include the payload.
Holds the record for carrying the heaviest payload:-
Back in 2009, the Antonov An-225 was sued to carry a single heaviest cargo item which was a 417000 pounds generator that was transported from Ukraine to Armenia.
A payload carrying World Record:-
The Antonov An-225 actually holds another record of carrying the most airlifted payload. It can carry up to a total of 559577 pounds of payload which in comparison is equal to airlifting the combined weight of 243 of the Cessna 172s.
The aircraft also has an amazing range. With the capacity to store 300000 kg of fuel, the aircraft can remain afloat in the sky for a little over 18 hours for a maximum range of 9000 miles.
With this much of size, power, and range, you might think that the aircraft must be operated by a large number of crewmembers. However, the Antonov An-225 can easily be operated on any mission with as little as 6 crew members.
The Antonov An-225 might be big, it might lift nearly 250 tons of payload, and it still is able to travel with a maximum speed of 497 mph.
The aircraft has the capacity to accommodate inside it nearly 1500 people. This is three times the number of passengers that the world’s largest commercial passenger jet can accommodate.
The Antonov An-225 is the pride of the former USSR and as designed to carry the Buran Spaceplane for the Soviet Space missions. The aircraft happens to be the only aircraft of its kind with it also being the only aircraft with the largest wingspan as well as to be the world’s heaviest aircraft. The aircraft despite its huge size and weight is able to travel at Mach 1.2 and has an amazing range of 9000 miles without a need to land. Currently, there is only one Antonov An-225 in the world and that is also in the use of the commercial airlines; the Antonov Airlines.