Designed by the Soviet Union’s Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s, the Antonov An-225 Mriya is touted as the world’s largest, longest and heaviest aircraft. It’s powered by six massive turbofan engines and is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tons. There has only been one built so far, and it bears the civil registration UR-82060 of its Ukrainian operator. A second airframe was partially built; its completion has been halted due to lack of funding and interest. Continue reading for two videos, more pictures and additional information.
The type’s first flight in commercial service departed from Stuttgart, Germany on 3 January 2002, and flew to Thumrait, Oman with 216,000 prepared meals for American military personnel based in the region. This vast number of ready meals was transported on some 375 pallets and weighed 187.5 tons. The An-225 has since become the workhorse of the Antonov Airlines fleet, transporting objects once thought impossible to move by air, such as locomotives and 150-ton generators. It has become an asset to international relief organizations for its ability to quickly transport huge quantities of emergency supplies during disaster relief operations.