YouTube - Antonov An-225
6 x 51,600 lbs ea.
275 ft. 7 in.
291 ft. 2 in.
Antonov An-225 (engines dwarf people below)
The Antonov An-225 is the heaviest and longest airplane ever built, but doesn't have the longest wingspan ever. Still, most consider it the world's largest airplane.
The Antonov An-225 holds records for the world's heaviest aircraft, and the heaviest payload .
One aircraft 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 Antonov An-225 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 aircraft was shown to the international public for the first time at the 1989 Paris Air Show.
It was anticipated that the Antonov An-225 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 aircraft was for the delivery of over 215,000 meals to U.S. military personnel in Oman.
Sale of additional Antonov An-225 aircraft depends upon future demand for huge heavy cargo lifters.
Flying the world's largest aircraft 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 Antonov An-225 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 Antonov An-225. 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 Antonov An-225 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 aircraft 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 Antonov An-225 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 aircraft 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.
Pictured above is the magnificent scratch built Antonov An-225 by Hans Buhr. The wingspan is 11' 5 in. Buhr powers it with six Lehmer 2718/20 NL motors.
Simon Cocker scratch built a 20 foot wingspan Antonov An-225. It has no engines and is towed into the air as a glider. The airplane has working flaps and weighs around 55 lbs. In 1997 it was in the Guinness book of world records as the largest RC airplane.