The Antonov ‘Was’ The World’s Heaviest Aircraft Before This Happened

Russia's war destroys Soviet-era marvel.

Antonov An-225 Mriya
Image: Unsplash

The Antonov An-225 Mriya was the world’s heaviest aircraft. Other than that, it held several other records like the largest wingspan. But that’s all in the past as Russian shelling over Ukraine has heavily damaged the plane. The Antonov was designed in the 1980s by the Antonov Design Bureau in Soviet Ukraine.

At a massive 84-meter length and 18.1-meter height, the Antonov had an ultrawide 88-meter wingspan. The ginormous plane weighed 2,85,000 kg when empty, and had a fuel capacity of over 3,00,000 kgs. Even with its massive build, the Antonov An-225 had a cruising speed of over 800 km/hour.

This aircraft was originally designed to carry Soviet space shuttles but was used as a cargo plane after the fall of the Soviet Union. Antonov’s unique cargo bay opens from the front, raising the cockpit all the way up to load the plane. The plane was equipped with 6 turbofan engines and had a massive 640 tonnes maximum take-off weight capacity.

It Is A Distant Dream Now

The full name of the Antonov aircraft is Antonov An-225 Mriya. ‘Mriya’ means dream or inspiration, and there’s only a dream of the Antonov that is left. In the 1980s, two Antonov planes were ordered, but only one was completed.

So this plane was one of a kind, which makes it quite unique. So much so, that people still followed the plane’s schedule and flocked outside airports to see this massive marvel fly past them.

However, there’s still hope because the second, uncompleted Antonov’s frame is still stored. But there are slim chances because restoration of this plane is estimated to take well above $300 million and a time of over 3 years.

So for now, it is farewell to the world’s heaviest plane. While the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shaken the world, certain losses like the destruction of Antonov An-225 Mriya highlight the cost of war. While Ukraine claims to rebuild the plane back to life, it is a pipeline dream for now. So for now, the Aero Spaceline Super Guppy is the largest surviving aircraft in the world.

From cargo planes to rockets, did you know there were 6 doomed rockets that went up in flames? Or that the world’s largest steam-traction engine was brought back to life by an engineer and his team? If not, check out the linked articles to know more about these massive milestones that changed the world.

Manik Berry

Manik Berry

With a Master’s degree in journalism, Manik writes about big tech and has a keen eye for political-tech news. In his free time, he’s browsing the Kindle store for new stuff read. Manik also adores his motorcycle and is looking for new routes on weekends. He likes tea and cat memes. You can reach him at [email protected]
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