Antonov An-225 Mriya
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft, designed by the Soviet Union's Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s. The An-225's name, Mriya (Мрiя) means "Dream" (Inspiration) in Ukrainian. It is the largest airplane in the world; it is the heaviest aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes and the biggest heavier-than-air aircraft in terms of length and wingspan in operational service. The single example built so far currently bears the civil registration UR-82060 of its Ukranian operator.
The Antonov An-225 was designed to airlift the Energia rocket's boosters and the Buran space shuttle for the Soviet space program. It was developed as a replacement for the Myasishchev VM-T. The An-225's original mission and objectives are almost identical to that of the United States' Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
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 250,000 kg (550,000 lb) internally, or 200,000 kg (440,000 lb) on the upper fuselage. Cargo on the upper fuselage can be 70 metres (230 ft) long.
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. In May 2011 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.
Based on Antonov's earlier An-124, the An-225 has fuselage barrel extensions added fore and aft of the wings, which received root extensions to increase span. Two more Ivchenko Progress D-18T turbofan engines were added to the new wing roots, bringing the total to six, and an increased-capacity landing gear system with 32 wheels was designed, some of which are steerable to turn the aircraft within a 60 m (200 ft) wide runway. Like its An-124 predecessor, the An-225 has nosegear designed to kneel so cargo is easier to load and unload. The An-124’s rear cargo door and ramp were removed to save weight, and the empennage 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 aerodynamics of 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 225 had a maximum gross weight of 600 t (1,300,000 lb) but the aircraft underwent modifications from 2000 to 2001, at a cost of US$20M, with a reinforced floor that increased the maximum gross weight to 640 t (1,400,000 lb).
Source : Wikipedia