50 SKY SHADES - World aviation news

Rare flight for the biggest plane in the world

Download: Printable PDF Date: 12 May 2016 04:06 (UTC) category:
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Rare flight for the biggest plane in the world - Airlines publisher
Dana Ermolenko
Country: Ukraine Aircraft: Airplanes
Source: CNN

The undisputed superstar of the skies -- the biggest airplane in the world -- is taking flight on a rare delivery mission across three continents.

The Ukrainian cargo jet named "Mriya" is one of a kind. There is no other.

That's why the gawkers showed up Tuesday in Prague. They watched in awe as this big boy defied gravity before it touched down at Vaclav Havel Airport in the Czech Republic.

Officially designated as the Antonov An-225, the plane was developed in the 1980s to carry the Soviet version of the space shuttle on its back.

The biggest airplane in the world, the Antonov AN-225 Mriya, arrived from its base in Kiev, Ukraine, at Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague, Czech Republic, on May 10. Click through the gallery to see more images of this one-of-a-kind flying machine.

Only one of these planes exists. There is no other. For many enthusiasts, its size and its singular, unique status makes the An-225 Mriya the king of the aviation world.

Cargo is loaded through the plane's nose. On its current mission, Mriya is transporting a giant Czech-made electric generator from Prague across three continents to Perth, Australia. Mriya's massive cargo hold is 141 feet (43 meters) long. That's longer than the Wright Brothers' historic flight in 1903.

The Mirya has been tasked with delivering a generator that weighs more than 100 tons. It was manufactured by the Brush Sem engineering company in Plzen, Czech Republic, for Australian aluminum producer Worstely Alumina.

We live in an age when most airliners are powered by two or four jet engines. This monster has six.

The An-225's maximum total weight at takeoff including cargo: 640 tons. That's more than twice as heavy as the Statue of Liberty.

Mriya has scheduled stops in Turkmenistan, India and Malaysia before arriving this weekend in Perth, where thousands of fans are expected to greet the plane and its six-member crew, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/antonov.company.en/?pnref=story" target="_blank">according to the Antonov Company</a>.

When the shuttle program ended, the plane morphed into the world's coolest flying moving van.

While in Prague, workers will load Mriya with a generator weighing 130 tons for delivery to Australia.

Here's a little perspective on what makes this thing so special.

We live in an age when most airliners are powered by two or four jet engines.

This monster has six.

Its wingspan measures 290 feet (88 meters).

That's 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.

Its maximum total weight at takeoff: 640 tons.

That's more than twice as heavy as the Statue of Liberty.



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