Largest Plane in the World | a Summary of its History

Largest Plane in the World  

Largest plane in the world has been destroyed, the Antonov AN-255 "Mriya" ("The Dream") is the first out of two planes that was planned to be built in (designed in the 1980s by the Antonov Design Bureau in Soviet Ukraine.). 

According to the aircraft manufacturer's website, the fuselage and tail unit were assembled at the Antonov Kyiv Mechanical Works facility in Kyiv, while the wing center section and outer wing panels were assembled at the Valerii Chkalov Tashkent Production Association in Tashkent. The wings and wing center sections were transported from Tashkent to Kyiv on the AN-22 Antaeus (Antei).

How sad it really is to destroy largest plane in the world in a futile war. I write this article and I feel very sad about every human soul lost in wars and also sad for the loss of this plane, which I was very impressed with its performance as an air cargo instructor.

I know that you are interested in reading as much as you can about this plane. I will give you a summary of its history and specification to answer all question that you are need.

 How many "Antonov AN-255" are there?

Only one largest plane in the world was ever built by the Kyiv-based Antonov Company, the defence manufacturers who originally designed the plane.


 Antonov AN-255 | The First Flight

The first flight of the largest plane in the world took off on December 21, 1988 from the airfield of the plant in Svyatoshin by captain Oleksandr Galonenko .

 What is it used for?

The first objective of the largest plane in the world's development was to transport the orbital shuttle Buran and components of the Energiya carrier rocket. 

The AN-225 was also expected to be used as a space launch site to fly the Reusable Space Transport System (MAKS) with the aircraft performing its first stage and a compact space shuttle fitted with a fuel tank.

The second objective of the largest plane in the world 's development is to transport extra-heavy oversize cargo to any point on the globe so that the cargo is carried either in the fuselage or in the external cargo holds.

Antonov | Meaning

Antonov is a masculine Russian surname that is derived from the male given name Anton and literally means Anton's. I.e., it is a patronymic surname derived from the Antonius root name. Its feminine counterpart is Antonova.


Antonov AN-255| Aircraft Characteristics

1- Main Characteristics

Length (m)

84 (275.6 ft)

Height (m)

18.2 (59.3 ft)

Wing span (m)

88.40 (290 ft 2 in)

Wing area (m²)

905.0 (9,743.7 ft²)


2- Flight characteristics

Cruise speed (km/h)


Maximum speed

850 km/h (460 knots, 530 mph)

Operational range (km)

15 400

Operational ceiling (m)

9 000



3- General characteristics




250,000 kg (550,000 lb)

 Door dimensions:

440 x 640 cm (14.4 x 21.0 ft)

Cargo Volume

1300 m³ (45913.8 ft³)

Empty weight:

175,000 kg (385,800 lb)

 Max takeoff weight

600,000 kg (1,323,000 lb)


6× ZMKB Progress D-18 turbofans, 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) each

Takeoff run


3,500 m (11,500 ft) with maximum payload


Huge but graceful with six powerful engines. We cannot see this large bird again.

Largest plane in the world| Chronology

16th of October 1986      

approval of the Requirements Specifications for development of a multiple-purpose airplane for the aerospace system which, according to the Enactment of the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers No. 132-51, also included the Buran shuttle orbiter and the Rassvet (Energiya) carrier .

20th of May 1987   

publication of Enactment of the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers No. 587-132 regarding launch of development and construction of the airplane with code designation “400М” (later – “402” or AN-225).

30th of November 1988

the airplane that was later named “Mriya” is rolled out of the ANTONOV ASTC assembly shop.

20th of December 1988   

the crew including: Oleksandr Galunenko (captain), Sergii Gorbik (co-pilot), Sergii Nechayev (navigator), Oleksandr Shuleshchenko (senior flight engineer), Volodymyr Gusar (flight engineer), Vyacheslav Belousov (radio operator) and Mykhaylo Kharchenko (leading test flight engineer) first flew the AN-225.

February 1989

Mykhaylo Gorbachov, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, visited the AN-225 at the Kyiv Boryspil Airport. It was aboard the Mriya that a historic decision was made to place two An-124s at the disposal of Antonov ASTC. 

This event opened the flood-gates for commercial transport operations using the Ruslans and served as an incitement for setting up the Antonov Airlines, air transport division of the ASTC.

22nd of March 1989        

Mriya takes off with 156.3 tons of cargo and establishes 110 world speed, altitude and weight-to-altitude records within 3 hours and 45 minutes of flight.

13th of May 1989   

Mriya takes off from the Baikonur aerodrome with its principal cargo – Buran orbiter weighing about 60 tons – carried piggy-back. 13 test flight were accomplished in such vehicles configuration in the Baikonur area.

June 1989

Demonstration of Mriya with Buran at the 38-th Paris International Aerospace Show at Le Bourget (France).

May 1990     

Mriya (captain Sergii Gorbik’s crew) makes its first commercial flight carrying a Т-800 tractor weighing over 110 tons from Chelyabinsk to Yakutia.

21st of June 1991

The aerospace system comprising Mriya and the British Aerospace Interim HOTOL reusable spacecraft is presented at the European Space Agency headquarters in Paris .

7th of May 2001    

Mriya’s first flight (pilot in command – А.V. Galunenko) after reconditioning overhaul following a seven-years downtime on the aerodrome.

26th of May 2001   

AN-225 Type Certificate is handed in during a new runway opening ceremony at Boryspil airport.

11th of September 2001  

Mriya sets 124 world and 214 national speed, altitude and weight-to-altitude records.

16th of June 2004 

having flown the AN-225 with 247 tons of cargo (4 pipe-laying machines) from Prague (Czech Republic) to Tashkent (Uzbekistan) the crew headed by Anatolii Moiseyev set six world records.

10th of June 2010 

the AN-225 carries the longest cargo item in the history of air transportation. Two wind turbine blades 42.1 meters each were delivered by air from China to Denmark for special testing.

27th of September 2012  

on the opening day of AviaSvit -ХХΙ Aerospace Show, Mriya lifted an art exhibition of the Globus Gallery (500 paintings by 120 Ukrainian artists) accommodated in the airplane’s cargo compartment, to the altitude of 10150 m. The flight was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.


Ukrainian AN-225 Mriya carries a cargo item weighing 182 tons (a 155-ton electric turbine accommodated in a special-purpose 27-ton carcass is delivered from São Paulo (Brazil) to Santiago (Chile) ).

One says “A great Christmas present: "Mriya" visits Amsterdam”

Cost its Rent

Not available in the future, the cost of chartering Antonov AN-225 Mriya was vary depending on the cargo you wish to transport, the length of the route, and destination airports of the flight. Charters in the AN-225 was around $30,000 an hour


Antonov AN-255 | How much fuel does it use?

The fuel consumption of all engines is about 18-22 tons (19.8 – 24.3 short tons) per hour of flight.


 Is it Bigger than A380 

It has six engines and 32 wheels to support its huge wingspan of 290 feet. This is bigger than the A380.


Antonov AN-255 | How was it destroyed?

An aviation wonder and the world's largest cargo aircraft, the Antonov An-225, has been “destroyed” in an attack on its base at Hostomel/Gostomel airport in Ukraine.


Ukrainian Officials Say the World's Largest Aircraft, Antonov AN-225, Has Been Destroyed. March 3, 2022 3:14 p.m. 


Last Words

Good bye Mriya "Largest plane in the world",  I dreamed one day that I would take a picture next to it, hear the craving of its engines, count its wheels, and watch its take-off or landing. But like any aviation lover, I feel sad, and like any normal human being, I hate wars.

The restoration is estimated to take over 3 billion USD and over five years.

Maged Saeed AL-Hadabi

I’m Instructor / Maged Saeed Al-Hadabi. ​ Air Cargo / IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations / Safety Management System Senior Instructor, Auditor [ Yemen Airways] . Approved IATA DGR/ SMS Instructor by Yemen Civil Aviation Authority.

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