Watching the World's Largest Plane Take Off Is Incredible

StoryfulPublished: March 31, 2017121,375 viewsVirality: 7%
Published: March 31, 2017

In November 2016, Gerd Valdeig visited Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany to film the Antonov An-225 Mriya, otherwise known as the world’s largest airplane, taking off. Despite the freezing temperatures and the near-24 hour delay in departure time, huge crowds gathered to watch this fascinating moment.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya (dream or inspiration) is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the longest and heaviest airplane ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 710 tons. It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The single example built has the Ukrainian civil registration UR-82060. A second airframe with a slightly different configuration was partially built. Its construction was halted in 1994 because of lack of funding and interest, but revived briefly in 2009, bringing it to 60%-70% completion.

The first and only An-225 was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads. The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single-item payload of 418,830 pounds,and an airlifted total payload of 559,580 lb. It has also transported a payload of 545,000 lb on a commercial flight.

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