The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic
airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Soviet Union's Antonov
Design Bureau in the 1980s. The Antonov An-225,was initially
developed for the transport of the Buran spaceplane. The design of
the An-225 is based on and is an enlargement of Antonov's four engined
An-124. The An-225's name, Mriya (Мрiя) means "Dream" (Inspiration) in
Ukrainian. The aircraft is powered by six turbofan engines and has a
maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes. It has the largest wingspan of any
aircraft in operational service. An increased-capacity landing
gear system with 32 wheels was designed, some of which are steerable,
enabling the aircraft to turn within a 60 m wide runway. The An-225's
nosegear is able to kneel so cargo can be more easily loaded and unloaded.
The cargo hold is impressiv with a volume of 1,300 m3 and measures of 43.35 m long;
6.4 m wide and 4.4 m tall. The single example built flew first on 21 December 1988 and
was registered CCCP-82060. A second airframe was partially built; its';
completion was halted following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
This second uncompleted An-225 airframe is stored and was never completed because of lack of funding and interest.
Antonov An-225 CCCP-82060 was operated by
Antonov Airlines and mostly operated on Soviet military missions.
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. In 2000, the Antonov An-225 modified for heavy cargo
transport and re-engined. On 23 May 2001, the An-225 received its type
certificate from the Interstate Aviation Committee Aviation Register and
entered service as UR-82060 under the management of Antonov Airlines. On
3 january 2002, the giant aircraft operated its first commercial cargo
flight under the management of Antonov Airlines. On 10 June 2008,
Antonov AN-225 UR-82060 was seen at Leipzig-Halle Airport in Germany
waiting for cargo.