THE WORLD’S HEAVIEST AIRCRAFT
The Antonov AN-225 MRIYA was initially developed for the transportation of the Energiya carrier-rocket and Buran space shuttle between space facilities in the former Soviet Union. It made its first flight on December 21, 1988.
The AN-225 entered commercial service in 2001. Since then, it has been operating flights all over the world carrying cargoes such as electrical transformers and mobile power generators.
It also continues to make its support worldwide peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. The aircraft’s service life has been extended, meaning that the AN-225 will remain in operation until at least 2033.
Based on Antonov’s AN-124 design, the AN-225 saw fuselage barrel extensions added fore and aft of the wings. It also uses the AN-124-100’s nose gear, which allows it to ‘kneel’ so that cargo can be easily loaded and unloaded. However, unlike the AN-124-100, which has a rear cargo door and ramp, the AN-225’s empennage design was changed from a single vertical stabilizer to a twin tail with an oversized, swept-back horizontal stabilizer. This twin tail enabled the aircraft to carry large, heavy external loads, which would normally disturb the airflow around a conventional tail.
The AN-225’s cargo compartment can be pressurized, which extends the aircraft’s transport capabilities. Also, its onboard cargo handling equipment, plus the design of the forward cargo door and its integral ramp, also ensure quick and easy loading/unloading operations.
The AN-225 is called ‘Mriya’, meaning ‘Dream’ in Ukrainian holds a total of 242 world records to its name and is the inspiration for Antonov Airlines’ slogan: “No other name carries more weight”.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE ANTONOV AN-225:
The biggest Jumbo has always gathered a lot of attention whenever it makes an entry or wherever it goes..
- The Antonov An-225 has set over 200 world records that involve airlifting the world’s heaviest and longest cargo.
- The Antonov An-225 was developed during the Cold War in 1980 to airlift the Buran spacecraft for the Soviet space program.
- Presently there is only one AN-225 in the world that is in operation.
- The An-225 is an extension to An-124, a Ruslan freight aircraft. Now, the hull and wingspan are extended by 15m. The An-225 is currently the single commercial freight power-driven by six engines.
- For the last 25 years, the Antonov An-225 has been known as the biggest commercially used freighter in the world. It can airlift over 250 tons of cargo.
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