An-225 Mriya (which is referred to Dream from Ukrainian) is the heaviest airlift cargo aircraft ever taken off in the sky. The maximum takeoff weight makes 640 tons. An-225 was designed, due to the necessity to create the air transport system for the Soviet reusable Space Shuttle Buran. This is the only aircraft in the world.
The airplane was designed in USSR and manufactured by Kiev Mechanical Plant in 1988.
Mriya has set the absolute world record of takeoff weight and an airlifted total payload.
An-225 transported a payload of 156.3 tons on March 22, 1989 which broke 110 air world records. This has become a world record in its turn.
Since its launch the aircraft has logged 3740 flying hours. If the average flight speed is equal to about 500 km per hour (taking into account takeoff, climb, cruise, descent and approach to landing), it is possible to calculate approximate kilometer performance: 500 x 3740 = 1 870 000 km. It is more than 46 circles around the Earth at the equator.
The size of An-225 is impressive. It is 84-meter long and 18-meter high (like 6-stored house with 4 porches).
The obvious comparison of Mriya and Boeing-747.
If the largest Boeing 747-800 is taken as a basis, An-225 is 8-meter longer and its wingspan is 20-meter larger.
Compared to Airbus A380, Mriya is 11-meter longer, and its wingspan exceeds by 9 meters.
Sometimes it happens that there is no appropriate parking for such a huge airplane at an airport, and it is put right on the air strip. Of course, it refers to the secondary runway if there is one at an airport.
The wingspan constitutes 88.4 m and wing area is 905 m².
The Hughes H-4 Hercules is the only aircraft which has a greater wingspan than An-225 and is referred to the flying boats class. The airplane flew only once in 1947. The history of this aircraft is reflected in the film Aviator.
The aircraft was redesigned to fix cargo atop, as the Buran space shuttle and the Energia rocket’s boosters had the size exceeded the Mriya freight area. Besides, the aircraft was planned to be used as the first step to launch the shuttle.
The wake effect caused by oversize cargo mounted atop the aircraft required to set twin-finned tail to avoid aerodynamic shading.