Published on : Thursday, May 12, 2016
The biggest airplane in the world is ready to take flight on a rare delivery mission across three continents. Undisputed superstar of the skies, the Ukrainian cargo jet named “Mriya” is one of a kind. The gawkers were all around in Prague when this huge aircraft defied gravity before it touched down at Vaclav Havel Airport in the Czech Republic.
The plane was developed in the 1980s to carry the Soviet version of the space shuttle on its back and was officially designated as the Antonov An-225. After the end of the shuttle program, the plane morphed into the world’s coolest flying moving van.
The workers in Prague will load Mriya with a generator weighing 130 tons for delivery to Australia.
So, what is so special about this plane?
Most airliners are powered by two or four jet engines, while this one is equipped with six. The wingspan measures 88 meters (290 feet) which makes it longer than five 53-foot semi-truck trailers set end-to-end. Mriya’s cargo hold is actually longer than the Wright Brothers’ historic flight in 1903. At takeoff, its maximum total weight is 640 tons, which is twice as heavy as the Statue of Liberty.
Like the way its nose opens to allow cargo loading through the front end is a beauty in itself! Mriya’s split tail is also a thing to appreciate.
It’s rare to see it in action. However, lately, Mriya has been making deliveries once or twice a year.
This is the plane you would want when there is the need to deliver gargantuan oil industry equipment or a giant electric generator.
The An-225 holds world aviation records for flying heavy payloads. It set one in 2004 when it flew a 247-ton piece of oil pipeline machinery to Uzbekistan.
From its pickup location in Prague, Mriya has scheduled stops in Turkmenistan, India and Malaysia before arriving this weekend at its final destination in Perth — on Australia’s west coast. The plane and its six-member crew will be greeted with thousands of spectators when it will arrive.
It will then be back to home base in Kiev where planners will chalk up another “mission accomplished” for the biggest plane in the world.