4 A Sneak Peek into an AN-124 Ruslan, the World’s Largest Aircraft

A Sneak Peek into an AN-124 Ruslan, the World’s Largest Aircraft

Posted on July 22, 2016 by marina

Heavyweight aircraft transfers huge drilling rigs, equipment, machines on thousands of miles. When there is no opportunity or time to send cargo by water or by land, heavy transport aircraft comes to the aid.
The leader among heavyweight aircrafts is rightly considered AN-124 “Ruslan”. It is the second world’s largest serial cargo plane (the first is AN-225 Mriya). The largest operator of AN-124 is the Russian Volga-Dnepr Airlines.

1. Aircraft an-124 “Ruslan” had been designed primarily for air transportation of mobile launchers for intercontinental ballistic missiles. The first flight of the prototype flew on 24 December 1982 in Kyiv.

3. This plane is really amazing. The length of the aircraft is 69 meters.

4. AN-124 is nearly twice as long compared with the Airbus A-320.

5. Aircraft height is 21 meters. This is a 7-storey building.

6. Wingspan is 73 meters. For example, this is the width of the Red Square in Moscow.

8. Multisupport chassis equipped with a 24-ring wheels that allows to operate AN-124 with unpaved runways, as well as to change the angle of inclination of the fuselage which facilitates loading.

9. The aircraft is equipped with 4 engines D-18T. In takeoff mode, each engine develops a thrust of 23.4 tons (or 230 kN). The total traction of all 4 engines is 93.6 tons (920 kN). It can be assumed that every engine on take-off mode has an output of about 12 500 horsepower!

10. The maximum speed of the aircraft is 865 km / h. Practical range is 4500 km, ferry range is 16500 km.–nextpage–

11. A feature of the aircraft design is the presence of two cargo hatches in the nose and tail parts of the fuselage, which facilitates and accelerates the processes of loading cargo. In particular the goods in the AN-124 can be loaded or unloaded simultaneously from the nose and tail parts.

12.. Opening of the front cargo hatch is carried out in stages with the remote control.

13. In June 2016 An-124-100 “Ruslan” Volga-Dnepr Airlines delivered hydraulic turbine impeller from St. Petersburg to Magadan for Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP.

14. For transportation of hydraulic turbine impeller there was used an equipment that distributes weight across the floor of the cargo compartment. It is also important to consolidate the cargo in the cargo compartment. A wrong solution of these problems can cause damage to the structure of the aircraft and even cause to a plane crash.

15. The total weight of the cargo together with the packing equipment and accessories amounted to 115 tons.

16. Preparation for the transportation of the impeller, which was about 6 meters in diameter, was conducted six months.

17. The length of the cargo compartment “Ruslan” is 36.5 m, width 6.4 m, height 4.4 m.
4 Mi-8 helicopter, subway car, or even some large aircrafts can fit here.

18. The aircraft is equipped with loading and unloading, mooring equipment and on-board mobile bridge cranes.

19. The system for the loading cargoes weighing up to 120 tons consists of elevated roads, rail systems and navigation elements, moving on a rail system. Rail system sets the direction and distributes the load.

20. The work of technical teams. Staffing is 8 people. But due to the fact that there was performed a unique loading in St. Petersburg, additionally 6 more people were needed.–nextpage–

21. After moving the impeller on the rack, cargo winch dragged into the cargo compartment of “Ruslan”.

22. The loading lasted nearly 10 hours.

23. Ready for takeoff!

24. The cabin crew of AN-124.

25. “Ruslan” Crew consists of 8 people: Commander, Assistant Commander, Navigator, senior engineer, flight engineer on CS, radio operator, two operators of loading and unloading operations.

26. The control wheel steering of the largest serial aircraft on the planet.

27. The engine control lever

28. «Ruslan» is the first Soviet aircraft equipped with on-board automated system which checks the work of all units, as well as ensures that if the crew performed “Manual operation of flight”

29. Automation determines the maximum allowable take-off weight, depending on the airport, protecting the aircraft from entering to the supercritical regimes.

30. The aircraft has two decks. The lower deck is a cargo, the top-flight deck and the passenger compartment.

The airplane provides 18 places for rest of the crew members and the members of the engineering team – 6 seats in the front cabin and 12 in the back one.

*Fasten seat belts*–nextpage–

31. Communication of the passenger cabin to the cockpit.

32. The flight was carried out with two landings in Nizhnevartovsk and Yakutsk. It was necessary for refueling and crew rest.

33. The total length of the route was 6500 km.

34. The first landing in Nizhnevartovsk.

35. After each landing it was necessary to make an inspection of the aircraft.



38. The aircraft refueling time is in the range from half an hour to one and a half days, and the number of required refueling ranges from 5 to 40 depending on their capacity.

39. Maximum mass fueling limited to a maximum take-off weight of the aircraft. It is 212.3 tons.
Consumption at full load is 12.6 tons / hour.

40. –nextpage–


42. Landing in Yakutstk

43. It happens that the airport has not an appropriate parking space for such a large aircraft, and it is put directly to the alternate runway.


45. The final point of the route is Magadan.

46. An unloading occurs in the same way as loading, just the opposite.

47. The impeller is rolled out on the overpass in front of the aircraft.


49. The transported impeller will be installed on the hydraulic unit №3 of Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP which is scheduled to be operational in 2018.

50. “Ruslan” fly rarely in Russia . For example, this AN-124 after Magadan immediately flew to Japan.–nextpage–


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4 responses to “A Sneak Peek into an AN-124 Ruslan, the World’s Largest Aircraft”

  1. john dudley says:

    Very fine posting,with excellent photo’s,it is all fascinating to see and read.Keep up the good work.

  2. Alex says:

    really the biggest? not so sure, the biggest airplane in the world is Antonov-AN-225-Mriya, please check 😀

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