The Antonov An-225 Mriya (translation: “Dream”) is a monster-sized plane. It was built in Ukraine in the late 1980s and is considered the heaviest and most capable aircraft in the world. Here are some of its specifications, as per Wikipedia:
- Crew: 6 or 7
- Length: 84 m (275 ft 7 in)
- Wingspan: 88.4 m (290 ft 0 in)
- Height: 18.1 m (59 ft 5 in)
- Wing area: 905 m2 (9,740 sq ft)
- Wheels: 32
- Aspect ratio: 8.6
- Empty weight: 285,000 kg (628,317 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 640,000 kg (1,410,958 lb)
- Fuel capacity: more than 300,000 kg (661,000 lb)
- Cargo hold – volume 1,300 m3 (46,000 cu ft), 43.35 m (142.2 ft) long × 6.4 m (21 ft) wide × 4.4 m (14 ft) tall
- Powerplant: 6 × Progress D-18T turbofans, 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) thrust each
- Maximum speed: 850 km/h (530 mph, 460 kn)
- Cruise speed: 800 km/h (500 mph, 430 kn)
- Range: 15,400 km (9,600 mi, 8,300 nmi) with maximum fuel; range with 200 tonnes payload: 4,000 km (2,500 mi)
- Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,000 ft)
- Wing loading: 662.9 kg/m2 (135.8 lb/sq ft)
- Thrust/weight: 0.234
The plane was designed and built by the Antonov Design Bureau and first flew on December 21st 1988. Its original use was to transport the Russian space shuttle “Buran” to its launch site. The shuttle was carried externally on top of the fuselage.
With the end of the Buran space program in the mid-1990s, she was taken out of service and left to rust in an airfield near Kiev. In May 2001, following a $20m refurbishment program, the Antonov An-225 Mriya has been able to fly again.
The plane is usually contracted to carry either extremely large items or huge amounts of cargo. In the past, it’s transported the aforementioned space shuttle, 216,000 prepared meals for military personnel, huge quantities of emergency supplies during disaster relief operations, wind turbine blades, a generator for a gas power plant and, more recently, medical supplies from China to other parts of the world, as part of the COVID-19 pandemic relief effort.
Case in point, the Antonov An-225 Mriya recently landed in Shannon Airport, in Shannon Ireland, to deliver PPE – specifically 900,000 medical gowns to be delivered throughout the country. To give you an idea of how much that is, they said it took 20 men, on shift rotation, 15 hours to hand load 6,249 boxes weighing 18 kgs each.
Officials at Shannon Airport were on hand to videotape the plane’s arrival and they posted it on their Facebook.
And here’s the view of the landing from the cockpit:
That’s one heck of a plane!
Feature Photo: Myroslav Kaplun/Wikimedia Commons
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary