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World’s largest cargo plane joins COVID-19 fight

written by Sandy Milne | April 17, 2020

The world’s largest cargo plane – the Ukrainian Antonov An-225 Mriya – has been brought back into service to assist with intercontinental transport of vital medical equipment and PPE during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Soviet-era jet has been grounded for some 18 months for maintenance and servicing.However, Flightradar24 data shows that the craft departed Kiev, Ukraine, at 3pm local time on 11 March  for Warsaw, Poland (initial flight number ADB354F).

Since then, the aircraft has since been making return trips to Tianjin, China, via Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The American Journal of Transportation reports that the first flight involved roughly 100 tonnes of medicines, PPE and testing equipment. This added up to a total cargo volume of 1,000 cubic metres (out of a possible 1,300).

The Antonov An-225 boasts a wingspan of 88.4 metres and a max take-off weight of 640 tonnes, making it the heaviest aircraft in the world.

Though smaller in height than comparably-sized jets like the Hughes H-4 Hercules, the An-225 is considering longer than any other model at 84 metres. By comparison, Boeing’s 747-8 clocks in at 76.3 metres, and Scaled Composite’s Stratolaunch model is 73 metres in length.

The An-225 is powered by six turbofan engines and was initially designed as an enlargement of the earlier An-124 model – which was in turn developed for transporting Soviet spacecraft.

Source: Wikimedia Commons



  • Henry Rodrigues


    Fascinating information about these giant cargo aircraft. Marvelous examples of the best of design and engineering.

  • Impressed with your content

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