World’s largest aircraft: Five interesting facts about the Antonov AN-225

Renowned as the largest aircraft in the world, the Antonov AN-225 Mriya (meaning Dream in Ukrainian) has always received red-carpet attention whenever it makes an appearance. Be it upon arrival or departure, the AN-225 is constantly pursued by aircraft enthusiasts and plane spotters every time it makes a landing or take-off

There are even websites where fans of the AN-225 closely watch and exchange information on the whereabouts of the freighter aircraft. So, what makes the Antonov AN-225 Mriya so interesting? Here are the five most interesting facts about the freighter:

1. For over 25 years, the AN-225 has held the title of the biggest commercially used freighter in the world. Powered by six turbofan engines, it is the biggest heavier-than-air aircraft in terms of length (85.3m) and wingspan (88m) in operational service. It is able of carrying up to 250 tons of cargo, which is equivalent to the average weight of 52 mature elephants.

2. There is only one operational AN-225 in the world.

3. The Ukrainian plane manufacturer Antonov developed the AN-225 during the Cold War in the 1980’s to airlift (in a piggyback fashion) the Buran spacecraft for the Soviet space program. The maiden flight took place on 21 December 1988 and six months later the AN-225, with the Buran atop, was presented for the first time in the west at the Paris Air Show in 1989.

4. The AN-225 is an extension of the successful Antonov AN-124 Ruslan freight aircraft – the hull and the wingspan were both extended by 15m. The plan was to build an extended version of the AN-225 freighter with eight engines, but the project named AN-325 has not been realised. The AN-225 is currently the only commercial freighter powered by six engines.

5. The AN-225 has set over 200 world records, including airlifting the world’s heaviest cargo, and the world’s longest cargo.

Exclusively used for charter flights, Chapman Freeborn has performed many successful airfreight projects with the AN-225, delivering reliable air cargo charter solutions for our clients. We have organised the first transatlantic flight from Frankfurt-Hahn to Toronto, as well as the first commercial flight of the AN-225 to South America in 2010.

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