The An-225 “Mriya” (translated from Ukrainian as “dream”) is the heaviest plane ever going aloft. Its maximum takeoff weight amounts to 640 tons. The reason they decided to build such a huge flying vehicle was the necessity to create an air transport system for the project of the Soviet reusable space shuttle “Buran”. By the way, the “Mriya” you see in the picture above is unique, there are no more An-225 planes in the world.
The plane was designed in the USSR and built in 1988 at the Kiev mechanical plant. “Mriya” set a world record for takeoff weight and lifting capacity. On March 22nd, 1989 the An-225 performed a flight with a load of 156,3 tons, having simultaneously broken 110 world records which was a record in itself…
From the very beginning the plane has flown for 3740 hours (1 870 000 km – over 46 circuits around the Earth).
The dimensions of the An-225 are very impressive – the length of the plane is 84 meters, the height – 18 meters (as tall as a six-storey building).
The “Mriya” stands next to a Boeing. Speaking of the largest Boeing – 747-800, an An-225 is eight meters longer, and its wingspan is twenty meters longer. Compared to an Airbus A380, “Mriya” is eleven meters longer, and its wingspan is nine meters longer.
Sometimes, airports do not have a parking area large enough for “Mriya”, so they have to park it on an auxiliary runway, if they have one…
The wing span of the plane is 88,4 meters, its area – 905m2. The only plane that has a larger wing span is the Hughes H-4 Hercules but it belongs to the class of flying-boats and flew only once.
Those space shuttles and launch pods carried by An-225 had bigger dimensions than the dimensions of “Mriya” itself.
They planned to use the plane as a primary stage of a space ship launch.
The plane has twin vertical tails which help to avoid a buffetting effect.
An-225 has six D-18T engines, each of them develops a thrust of 23,4 tons when the plane is taking off. The total thrust of all six engines is equal to 140,5 tons (1380kN).
It can be supposed that every engine of “Mriya” develops about 12 500 hp!
One engine of the plane is 3 meters high, 2,8 meters wide, and over 4 tons in weight.
The weight of fuel in the tanks is 365 tons. The plane may be in the air for eighteen hours and travel a distance exceeding 15 000 km.
It may take from half an hour to 1,5 days to fuel the plane.
Fuel consumption of the plane – 15,9 t/h (cruise condition).
Wheels are to be replaced after every 90 landings. One “Mriya” tire costs about $ 1000.
These wheels are really big!
Cargo hold dimensions – length – 43 meters, width – 6,4 meters, height – 4,4 meters.
They get access to the cargo hold through the nose of the plane.
The opening and closing process of the ramp takes less than ten minutes.
It “bows” like an elephant…
“Mriya” holds the record for the most weight in a transported load – 247 tons.
To provide safety, they need to place cargo strictly according to the instructions.
The plane is equipped with an airborne loading complex that consists of four lifting mechanisms – the hoisting capacity of each is five tons.
These are a turbine rotor, a turbogenerator for electrical power generation and components.
The plane is too heavy so it leaves traces on the asphalt.
Stairs leading to the cabin for the crew.
The passenger compartment is divided into two parts: the first, or front one is for the crew of the plane, the rear one is for service personnel.
Stickers and souvenirs from numerous visitors.
The crew of the plane consists of six members.
Engines are heated for ten minutes.
The takeoff and landing speed of the plane is around 240km/h – 280 km/h.
At the height of 7100 meters the speed accelerates to 675 km/h.
Maximum speed of the An-225 is 850 km/h.
Flight over Greece.
The service life of the plane is 8000 flying hours, 2000 landings and takeoffs, twenty five calendar years.