The biggest cargo airplane is the Antonov An-225. Operated by a crew of six, the aircraft is 84 m (275.6 ft) long and 18.1 m (59.3 ft) high. Its empty weight is 285,000 kg (628,315 lb).
Other Technical Specifications
The takeoff run is 3,500 m (11,500 ft) with maximum payload. The powerplant are 6× ZMKB Progress D-18 turbofans, 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) each. The max takeoff weight is 640,000 kg (1,323,000 lb). The cargo volume is 1,300 m3 (46,000 cu ft).
The aspect ratio is 8.6. The wing area of the Antonov is 905 m2 (9,743.7 ft2). The wingspan is 88.4 m (290 ft 2 in). The payload is 250,000 kg (550,000 lb). The door dimensions are 40 x 640 cm (14.4 x 21 ft).
The world’s biggest cargo airplane can travel at speeds of 850 km/h (460 knots, 530 mph). The cruising speed is 800 km/h (430 knots, 500 mph).
The range is 4,000 km (2,500 mi) with maximum payload and 15,400 km (9,570 mi) with maximum fuel. The thrust/weight is 0.234 and the wing leading is 662.9 kg/m2 (135.5 lb/ft2). The service ceiling is 11,000 m (36,100 ft).
The airplane was developed by the USSR space program. It was meant to take the place of the Myasishchev VM-T. Its primary objective was to carry the Buran space shuttle and the Energia rocket's boosters. In terms of function, the aircraft was used like the United States' Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
The maiden flight of the Antonov was on December 1988. Today, the aircraft is used for carrying large amounts of cargo. The dimensions of the plane allow it to carry cargo 70 meters (230 ft) long.
Construction of another An-225 began during the late 1980s. This Antonov had a back cargo door. The tail was also redesigned.
However, construction was stopped following the USSR’s collapse in 1991. Some of the components of the second Antonov were removed and used in other planes. The first An-225 was reactivated.
In September 2006, demand for larger cargo planes increased. This would lead to the redevelopment of the second An-225. However, numerous delays plagued the project. As of August 2009, work on the plane was stopped.
The An-225 has held the title of the world’s biggest cargo airplane for a while now. However, many new planes are being developed. It is possible that bigger cargo planes will be developed in the future.