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Largest Airplane In The World - The Antonov An-225

Updated July 3, 2019
The largest airplane in the world, by length and weight, is the Ukrainian cargo jet the Antonov An-225.
The Antonov An-225 Mryia (Mryia means "dream" in Ukrainian) is the longest and heaviest airplane ever, and is therefore often said to be the largest airplane in the world. This giant cargo jet - which made its first flight in 1988 - is 84 m (276 ft) long[1] and has a maximum take-off weight of 640 tonnes (1.41 million lb)[2].
The Antonov An-225 can carry up to around 250 tonnes (550,000 lb) in its cargo hold. The world record for the heaviest item ever airlifted was set in 2011, when Mryia transported a power plant generator which weighed 187.6 tonnes (375,200 lb).[3] The airplane also once carried four pipe-laying machines that had a combined weight of 247 tonnes (544,541 lb).[1] The An-225 can even carry loads on its roof.
The Antonov An-225 was originally built to transport the Buran - the Soviet Union's space shuttle which made one unmanned spaceflight in 1988. Only one single example of the An-225 has been built. There is, however, a half-completed An-225 in a hangar i Kiev, Ukraine. The construction of this airframe begun before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Antonov are still seeking fundings for its completion.[4]
Six turbofan jet engines and a total of 32 wheels help the giant airplane take off and land.

The world's largest aircraft is a workhorse that still today flies one giant cargo after another - everything from emergency relief to industrial equipment. It can cover distances up to 15,400 km (9,569 mi) without refueling.[1] The picture above is from 2012 and shows the Antonov An-225 at Arlanda Airport, Stockholm, Sweden.
The An-225 can perform a so-called "elephant dance" - an aviation term for when the nose gear "kneels" to make cargo loading easier.

Although the Antonov An-225 is usually considered the largest airplane in the world, the American Stratolaunch (pictured above) has the largest wingspan in the world.[5] The Stratolaunch flew for the first time in 2019 and is built to - between its two fuselages - carry space rockets to the edge of the atmosphere. The Stratolaunch has an astonishing wingspan of 117.35 m (385 ft).[5] The Antonov An-225 has a wingspan of 88.4 m (290 ft).[1]
The picture above shows a nice size comparison between the largest airplanes ever. The exact figures may differ between sources, but the Antonov An-225 is without a doubt the world's longest (and heaviest) airplane ever. However, the Stratolaunch and Howard Hughes' famous wooden aircraft the H-4 Hercules Spruce Goose (which flew once in 1947) both have larger wingspans than the An-225. The Spruce Goose is also taller than the An-225. The Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 passenger airplanes are also taller than the An-225.
References
[1]
"AN-225 "MRIYA". Antonov.com. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
[2]
"Largest aircraft by weight (ever)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
[3]
"Heaviest item airlifted". Guinness World Records. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
[4]
"Antonov An-225: World's biggest unfinished airplane lies hidden in warehouse". CNN.com. Updated Sep 4, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
[5]
"Largest aircraft by wingspan". Guinness World Records. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
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