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Largest Airplane
(Antonov An-225)

Largest Airplane Antonov An-225
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    Primary Function:
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global transport
Progress D18T
6 x 51,600 lbs ea.
627,915 lbs.
1,409,790 lbs.
551,150 lbs.
275 ft. 7 in.
291 ft. 2 in.
422 mph
528 mph
2,500 fpm
33,000 feet
9,500 miles

The largest airplane is the Antonov An-225.

We received the following email: "I was poking around the Net looking for the largest airplane max landing weight (nobody seems to know) and saw your listing of aircraft specs. I believe your empty weight figure is wrong, as it only allows for a 143,300 lb. payload. Even with the MTOW increased to 1.4M pounds, the largest airplane payload would be far below what was required to carry the Buran orbiter. Other sources list the internal payload at 550,000lb. - Regards, William J. Alibrandi, Aero Turbine Analyst, Forecast International"

Thank you for catching our error, William. The specifications for the largest airplane have been corrected.

The largest airplane, the Antonov An-225, holds records for the world's heaviest aircraft, and the heaviest payload .

One Antonov An-225 is currently in service with a second partially completed.  It appears that its construction has been halted.  We do not have any information if or when it will begin again.

The largest airplane is available for the transportation of heavy freight both on its back and internally.

The Antonov An-225 is an adaptation of earlier Antonov aircraft, with a longer fuselage, two more engines and a 32 wheel heavy duty landing gear.

The largest airplane was shown to the international public for the first time at the 1989 Paris Air Show.

It was anticipated that the largest airplane would be used for space projects by transporting rockets and their parts. The cargo bay is large enough to hold a fully assembled aircraft fuselage.

The first commercial flight of the largest airplane was for the delivery of over 215,000 meals to U.S. military personnel in Oman.

Production of additional Antonov An-225 aircraft depends upon future demand for huge heavy cargo lifters.

Flying the largest for the first time is a thrill. You line the aircraft up with the runway center line and hold the brakes while pushing the throttles fully forward. With brake release the aircraft slowly rolls forward. Acceleration is a gentle push back in your seat, rather than a shove.

At maximum take off weight the largest airplane uses a lot of runway before reaching rotation speed. Once off the ground the first business is to retract the massive under carriage. Next the flap setting is decreased gradually until 287 mph is reached, at which time they are fully retracted. The controls are surprisingly light and the aircraft responsive to minor inputs.

Angle of attack is very important in the largest airplane. It must be climbed gently so as to gain sufficient airspeed for gear and flap retraction. At cruising altitude the autopilots are engaged and you can take a deep breath.

However, it is always important to stay ahead of the aircraft. Once it gathers speed, the largest airplane is capable of flying at close to 500 mph. Not only do things happen fast at those speeds, but the mass of the aircraft must be taken into account when performing any maneuvers. Following the flight manual is a must or you can easily get into trouble.

Landings are best made with a long, straight in approach. The mass of the largest airplane carries its speed during landings. This is not the sort of an aircraft you want to side slip on final.

Flaps are dropped when speed is sufficiently reduced, then the gear comes down. Speed brakes are set to activate once the aircraft is on the runway.

A slightly nose high attitude is held while throttling back to a comfortable 500 foot per minute loss of altitude. Only when the largest airplane is in ground effect over the runway should power be fully reduced. If a go around becomes necessary, the six engines need some time to spool up.

Thrust reversing is engaged once the largest airplane slows sufficiently that the engines will not stall. The aircraft brakes do a remarkable job of slowing it smoothly and in a straight line, even though most of the runway is behind you before it slows enough to turn off.

Largest Airplane
Largest Airplane engines dwarf people below.

Largest Airplane
Largest Airplane

Pictured above and in the two pictures below is the magnificent scratch built largest airplane, the An-225 by Hans Buhr. The wingspan is 11' 5 in. Burh powers it with six Lehmer 2718/20 NL motors.

Sam Cocker scratch built a 20 foot wingspan Antonov An-225. In 1997 it was in the Guinness book of world records as the RC largest airplane.

Jim Markham scratch built another Antonov An-225. This has a 10 foot wingspan and is powered by six Wemotec mini fans.

There were some postings in RCGroups from Hawker about an Antonov An-225 that was scratch built. The foam model was powered by six EDF-50 fans, and weighed about 48 oz. However, even at that weight it seems the fans didn't have enough power to get it off of the ground. Hawker's model is in the third picture down.

The last picture is of an Antonov An-225 built by Chih Min. We don't know the dimensions, except that it weighs about 55 lbs.

Largest Airplane
Antonov An-225 by Hans Buhr.

Largest Airplane
Antonov An-225 with Buran.

Largest Airplane
Antonov An-225 by Hawker.

Largest Airplane
Chih Min's Antonov An-225.