Antonov An-225 General
Antonov 225
Strategic Airlift Transporter

Antonov An-225 Program Milestones
First Flight
December 21, 1988
First Delivery
Late 1980s
Start Second An-225
Second Airframe Complete

Antonov An-225 Aircraft Dimensions
Wing Span
290 feet 2 inch (88.40 m)
Wing Area
9,743.7 square feet
275.6 feet (84 m)
59.3 feet (18.1 m)
Door Dimensions
14.4 x 21.0 feet

Antonov Design Bureau Antonov An-225
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Antonov Design Bureau Antonov An-225

Antonov An-225 Galaxy Weights
550,000 lb (250,000 kg)
Empty Weight
385,800 lb (175,000 kg)
Maximum Take-off Weight
1,322,773 lb (640,000 kg)

Antonov An-225 Range & Performance
Range - Max Fuel
14,000 km
Range - Max Payload
4,000 km
Service Ceiling
33,000 feet
Maximum Speed
850 km/h (530 mph)
Cruise Speed
750 km/h (465 mph)
Take-off run
11,500 feet (3,500 m)
Thrust to Weight
Comparable Aircraft
Airbus A380

Antonov An-225 General Information
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is the largest transport aircraft ever built and is used as strategic airlift transport. The aircraft was built in order to transport the Buran orbiter and is an enlargement of the already succesful Antonov An-124 Ruslan. Mriya, as the An-225 is called, means "Dream" in the Ukrainian.

Antonov An-225 compared to the Antonov An-124
Antonov An-124 compared to the Antonov An-225

US Airways Embraer E-190
Air Canada Embraer E-190
JetBlue Embraer E-190
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In terms of maximum gross weight, the Antonov An-225 is by far the world's largest and heaviest aircraft with 1,411,000 lb. Although the Hughes H-4, or "Spruce Goose" as it was later named, had a greater wingspan and a greater overall height, it was considerably shorter, and due to the materials used in the construction of the aircraft, also lighter. Furthermore, the H-4 flew only once and never climbed above 70 feet, which makes the Antonov An-225 the largest aircraft in the world to commence a take-off multiple times. Since it is the largest aircraft in operation, it is needless to say its larger than the A380, 747 and C-5 Galaxy.

The An-225 was originally designed for the Soviet space program as a direct replacement for the Myasishchev VM-T. The An-225 is capable of airlifting the Buran space shuttle and Energia rocket's boosters, making its objectives and missions pretty much similar to those of the Airbus A300-600ST "Beluga" and the United States' Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. As said, the An-225 is a larger version of the An-124. In order to meet the needs of its new role, fuselage barrel extensions were added to the new wing roots, bringing the total to six, and an increased capacity landing gear system with 32 wheels was designed. The rear cargo door, as installed on the An-124, was removed in order to save weight, and the empennage was changed from a single vertical stabilizer to a twin tail with an oversized horizontal stabilizer. In order to counteract aerodynamic disturbances the aircraft is fitted with this twin tail and was made necessary by the requirement to carry very large and heavy external loads. Compared to its smaller "brother" the An-124, the An-225 was not intended for tactical airlifting and is definately not designed for short-field operation.

Antonov An-225 carrying the Buran space shuttle
The Antonov 225 carrying the Buran space shuttle

The first An-225 performed its first flight in 1988, and appeared at the Paris Air Show in 1989 carrying the Buran shuttle on its back. The aircraft is powered by a total of six Lotarev D-18T turbofan engines compared to four on the 124. The number of main landing gear assemblies was increased from five per side to seven in order to handle the increased take-off weight while the An-225 can lift up to a weight of 250 tonnes (275 tons).

In total, there was only one aircraft build with a second still unfinished at the production facility. Currently the aircraft is used by Antonov Airline for exceptional transport missions and operates under the registration UR-82060. Furthermore, the aircraft has undergone some modifications such as the addition of new safety systems, navigation and communication. According to Antonov, the structure of the An-225 was reinforced in order carry heavier payloads. All these improvements were carried out in 2000 and cost more than 20 million dollars. As said, a second production model is still at the production facility. Work on the aircraft begun during the 1980s but was stopped in 1994. In 2006, Antonov decided to finish the construction of the second Mriya and is due for 2008.