World’s Largest Aircraft: Antonov An-225 Mriya

Bigger than a Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, longer and heavier than the Hughes H-4 “Spruce Goose”, The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft developed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukraine and stands as the largest aircraft in the world.

Known for its immense carrying capability, the An-225 can carry 550,000 lbs. internally or 440,000 lbs. on the upper fuselage. A behemoth with the sole mission to carry cargo, the An-225 requires six turbofan engines to keep its payload in the air.

Antonov An-225 Mriya
Antonov An-225 Mriya



The original Antonov An-225 requirements warranted building the largest aircraft in the world. It was originally designed to function as a Russian Space Shuttle carrier aircraft, assisting the Buran space shuttle of the Soviet Space Program with transport. The plans were first laid out by thee Antonov Design Bureau in the early 1980s, but the first operational flight wouldn’t occur until December 21st, 1988.

Only one An-225 was built; initial plans were to build several An-225s, but the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 saw the cancellation of the Buran space program and the associated Antonov contracts.

Despite this, a second craft was partially constructed – but never finished.


By 1994, the lone An-225’s future was in doubt. Too expensive to operate, the engines were removed and it was placed in storage along with the second, unfinished An-225.

In 2000 the international need for the moving of strategic heavy equipment brought the An-225 back into service. Over the next five years demand for the Mriya’s services would grow; in 2006 Antonov decided to finish construction of the second aircraft.

However at the same time, demand would start to wane and when the 2008 financial crisis struck, plans for the second aircraft were put on hold once again.

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

An225-2  An225-4




So just how substantial is the Mriya?

• It requires six Ivchenko Progress D-18T turbofan engines to carry its payload in the air.

• The landing system has 32 wheels.

• The maximum gross weight is 640 tonnes (1,410,000 lbs.).

The largest single piece of airlifted cargo ever recorded was on an Antonov An-225.  A generator for a gas power plant in Armenia was 53.2 feet long, 14 feet wide and weighed 416,900 lbs.


The Antonov An-225 is still in use today. Many nations – including the United States – still contract the aircraft when necessary.

From chimney ducts to generators and war tanks to wind turbine blades, the Antonov An-225 has carried just about every large object that has required a transcontinental move.

Construction of a Mriya

Construction-An225-Mriya Construction-An225-Mriya-2 Construction-An225-Mriya-3

(click thumbnails to enlarge)



  1. behemoth!
    that tail-wing setup really enlarges the appearance of the aircraft. well, besides the six engines and 30+ wheels.. heh

  2. I just spent hours reading all your blog entries. I LOVE IT! So fascinating. So much information. I only wish there were more to read! Keep up the great work 🙂

  3. Did the an225 recently land in Orlando? Swear I saw it this past week approaching runway 18L Wednesday or Thursday…can anyone confirm? I know was recently in Curaçao so a stop here would be feasible.

  4. This thing should be spectacular when it crashes and burns. What a huge milestone for eastern block engineering. A total worhtless POS. Thats why they only built one.

  5. Why any more of this kind was not built by any one…. the global supply chain industry should be looking for something like this again …I am sure..

    • This aircraft is extremely costly to operate, the higher cost for the supply chain industry, without a doubt will be passed on to the consumer, which ultimately will end up with negative effect .
      It may be a good aircraft for special projects, but not for the supply chain Co’s.

  6. It was in Milwaukee Wisconsin at Mitchel international airport not so long ago I once lived there(not at the airport)big yes but for space shuttle service but cargo it is was the largest in the air till it crash when repaired alright the c5 galaxy military aircraft is larger cargo bay but not load capability because of larger wings of 225 I also saw the spruce goose up close and trust me it is largest aircraft ever made but due to ww2 not perfected for service(also Howard Hughes)quirks it is the design bed on which c5 galaxy 225 airbus are possible

  7. Flight of Antunov 225 cost are to expensive. Cost for transporting power transformer of 220 t is ate same as transformer cost in factory.

  8. Really? I have had a chance to view Russian built aircraft. The one impression I got was tough. They don’t build for pretty, they build for longevity and durability. Those are tough built aircraft.

  9. Well, never mind wht people think about this machine: it is beeeeeeeeeeeeeautiful. Indeed, Russina aircraft industry always keeps an eye in the roughess of its products under harsh conditions while making it deliver the best they can without too much flamboyance. They give a damn on the looks while adding whatever awkward surface that proves to be operationally iteresting. THe results are graceless airplanes to perform almost impossible missions.

  10. Its mind blowing aircraft. While A380 is wonderful… this one is outstanding… Only 1 aircraft !!! Its beyond imagination as to how would they managing it. I hope they build more… with more efficient engines, so that operating cost doesn’t render it unviable.

    Ukrain or Russian, should continue to collaborate with other countries (for financing and build the capability of their aircraft design and manufacturing to generate a third alternative to Boeing and Airbus.

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