The '''Antonov An-225 ''Mriya''''' (. It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The single example built has the Ukrainian+ civil registration '''UR-82060'''. A second airframe was partially built; its completion was halted because of lack of funding and interest.
The Antonov An-225, initially developed for the task of transporting the Buran+spaceplane+, was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124+. The first and only An-225 was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed+ for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines+ carrying oversized payloads. The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single item payload of 189,980 kilogram+s (418,834 pounds), and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg (559,577 lb).. ''Russian Aviation Museum'', 20 October 2001. Retrieved: 31 October 2010. It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kilograms (545,000 pounds) on a commercial flight.
The An-225 first flew on 21 December 1988 with a 74-minute flight from Kiev. The aircraft was on static display at the Paris Air Show+ in 1989 and it flew during the public days at the Farnborough air show+ in 1990. Two aircraft were ordered, but only one An-225 (registration+ CCCP-82060 later UR-82060) was finished. It can carry ultra-heavy and oversize freight, up to internally, or on the upper fuselage. Cargo on the upper fuselage can be long.
A second An-225 was partially built during the late 1980s for the Soviet space program. The second An-225 included a rear cargo door and a redesigned tail with a single vertical stabilizer. It was planned to be more effective for cargo transportation. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the cancellation of the Buran space program, the lone operational An-225 was placed in storage in 1994. The six Ivchenko-Progress+ engines were removed for use on An-124s, and the second uncompleted An-225 airframe was also stored. The first An-225 was later re-engined and put into service."" ''Military Factory'', 23 August 2012. Retrieved: 6 September 2012.
By 2000, the need for additional An-225 capacity had become apparent, so the decision was made in September 2006 to complete the second An-225. The second airframe was scheduled for completion around 2008, then delayed. By August 2009, the aircraft had not been completed and work had been abandoned.. Flight International, 17 August 2009. In May 2011, the Antonov CEO is reported to have said that the completion of a second An-225 Mriya transport aircraft with a carrying capacity of 250 tons requires at least $300 million, but if the financing is provided, its completion could be achieved in three years. According to different sources, the second jet is 60–70% complete.
In April 2013, the Russia+n government announced plans to revive Soviet-era air launch+ projects that would use a purpose-built modification to the An-225 as a midair launchpad.Update after|2014|04|30|:
Based on Antonov's earlier An-124+, the An-225 has fuselage barrel extensions added fore and aft of the wings. The wings also received root extensions to increase span. Two more Progress D-18T+turbofan+ engines were added to the new wing root+s, bringing the total to six. An increased-capacity landing gear+ system with 32 wheels was designed, some of which are steerable, enabling the aircraft to turn within a wide runway. Like its An-124 predecessor, the An-225 has nosegear designed to kneel+ so cargo can be more easily loaded and unloaded. Unlike the An-124, which has a rear cargo door and ramp, the An-225 design left these off to save weight, and the empennage+ design was changed from a single vertical stabilizer+ to a twin tail+ with an oversized horizontal stabilizer+. The twin tail was essential to enable the plane to carry large, heavy external loads that would disturb the airflow+ around a conventional tail. Unlike the An-124, the An-225 was not intended for tactical airlifting+ and is not designed for short-field operation+.
Initially the An-225 had a maximum gross weight of , but from 2000 to 2001 the aircraft underwent modifications at a cost of US$20M such as the addition of a reinforced floor, which increased the maximum gross weight to .Forward, David C: "Antonov's Dream Machine", p. 23. ''Airways'' magazine, June 2004Spaeth, Andreas: "When size matters", p. 29. ''Air International'' magazine, December 2009Gordon, Yefim; Dmitriy and Sergey Komissarov: "The Six-Engined Dream", page 76. ''Antonov's Heavy Transports: The An-22, An-124/225 and An-70''. Midland, 2004. ISBN 1-85780-182-2.
Both the earlier and later takeoff weights establish the An-225 as the world's heaviest aircraft, being heavier than the double-deck Airbus A380+. It is surpassed in other size-related categories, however: Airbus claims to have improved upon the An-225's maximum landing weight by landing an A380 at during tests, and the Hughes H-4 Hercules+, known as the "Spruce Goose", has a greater wingspan and a greater overall height. But the Spruce Goose is 20% shorter and overall lighter, due to the materials used in its construction. It also flew only once, making the An-225 the largest aircraft in the world to fly multiple times.
In the late 1970s, the Soviet government was looking to generate revenue from its military assets. In 1989, the Antonov Design Bureau set up a holding company as a heavy airlift shipping corporation under the name "Antonov Airlines+", based in Kiev+, Ukraine and operating from London Luton Airport+ in partnership with the Air Foyle HeavyLift+.
The company began operations with a fleet of four An-124-100s and three Antonov An-12+s, but a need for aircraft larger than the An-124 became apparent in the late 1990s. In response, the original An-225 was re-engined, modified for heavy cargo transport, and placed back in service under the management of Antonov Airlines.
On 23 May 2001, the An-225 received its type certificate from the Interstate Aviation Committee Aviation Register (IAC AR). On 11 September 2001, carrying four main battle tank+s at a record load of of cargo, the An-225 flew at an altitude of up to at a speed of .
The type's first flight in commercial service departed from Stuttgart, Germany+ on 3 January 2002, and flew to Thumrait, Oman+ with 216,000 prepared meals for American military personnel based in the region. This vast number of ready meals was transported on some 375 pallets and weighed 187.5 tons.
The An-225 has since become the workhorse of the Antonov Airlines fleet, transporting objects once thought impossible to move by air, such as 150-tonne generators. It has become an asset to international relief organizations for its ability to quickly transport huge quantities of emergency supplies during disaster relief operations.
The An-225 has been contracted by the Canadian and U.S. governments to transport military supplies to the Middle East in support of coalition forces. An example of the cost of shipping cargo by An-225 was over 2 million DKK+ (approx. €266,000) for flying a chimney duct from Billund+, Denmark+ to Kazakhstan+ in 2004.. steelcon.com. Retrieved: 13 June 2010. + An-225 landing at [[Gostomel Airport">Antonov Airlines+ An-225 landing at [[Gostomel Airport+ An-225 landing at [[Gostomel Airport" style="color: #CCCCCC;">+, 2014
On 11 August 2009, the heaviest single cargo item ever sent via air freight was loaded onto the An-225. At long and wide, its consignment, a generator for a gas power plant in Armenia+ along with its loading frame, weighed in at a record . ''Air Cargo News'' 13 November 2009. Retrieved: 30 May 2012., Eye for Transport, 18 August 2009.
During 2009, the An-225 was painted in a new blue and yellow paint scheme, after Antonov ceased cooperation with AirFoyle and partnered with Volga-Dnepr+ in 2006.Ingram, Frederick C. ''answers.com''. Retrieved: 24 July 2010.
On 11 June 2010, the An-225 carried the world's longest piece of air cargo, two 42-meter long test wind turbine+ blades from Tianjin+, China to Skrydstrup+, Denmark+. ''Renewable Energy Sources'', 11 June 2010. Pictures: . . Retrieved: 13 June 2010.
Antonov An-225 Mriya+ The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-225 Мрія (Dream), NATO reporting name: "Cossack") is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Soviet Union's Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s.