Microsoft – Antonov An–225 v1.0.5


As part of Microsoft Flight Simulator’s ongoing digital preservation efforts, we are pleased to introduce the world’s largest aircraft, the Ukrainian-built Antonov An-225 Mriya today. It is an ultra-heavy lift jet transport aircraft featuring six engines, holds the record as the world’s longest plane and many other size-related aviation records. Only one Mriya was ever completed, and it was rendered catastrophically inoperable in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Efforts are underway to attempt to rebuild the aircraft and fly it again. 

Using the An-124 Ruslan as a design base, in 1985 Antonov began engineering a project called “Mk. 401.” It was later named the An-225, since it could carry up to 225 tons of cargo. Apart from being much larger than the An-124, the Mriya (“dream” in Ukrainian) was fitted with six turbofan engines, the same power sources used by the Ruslan.  Further distinguishing it from the An-124, the An-225’s empennage took a different form from that of its smaller progenitor. Instead of one large vertical stabilizer, the An-225 was designed with two, one on each end of its horizontal stabilizer, a design dictated by the aerodynamics of carrying massive loads atop its fuselage. 

The landing gear was also enlarged from that of the An-124; the Mriya had a total of 32 wheels, the rearmost of the main landing gear assembly able to turn.  Two An-225s were slated for production, but Antonov only completed one. It took its maiden flight on December 21, 1988, officially becoming the heaviest aircraft ever to fly. During a subsequent flight on March 22nd, 1989, the AN-225 set 110 world records at once, which is itself a record. 

 A few months later the plane arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome and technicians fitted the Buran orbiter to its upper fuselage. And on June 9, 1989, spectators at the Paris Air Show were stunned by the sight of the massive An-225, with the Buran riding atop its form, approaching through the clouds, the first plane to fly above the Eiffel Tower, and then landing.