The Antonov An-225 Mriya, which is the heaviest and, arguably, the largest aircraft in the world, has finally returned to its base after crisscrossing the globe for 20 days.
The aircraft made 12 flights in total and visited Kazakhstan, China, Turkey, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Ireland and a host of other countries.
Most of the flights were conducted between Asia and Europe. For example, between October 4-5, 2021, the aircraft delivered 110 tons of COVID-19 tests from Tianjin (TSN), China, to Linz (LNZ), Austria.
Then, on October 7, the aircraft ferried 80 tons of metal works from Bucharest (OTP) to Ad Dammam (DMM).
The last few flights were conducted between Tianjin (TSN) and Shannon (SNN), with a stop in Almaty (ALA). According to Antonov Airlines, the An-225 was carrying car parts.
The giant aircraft returned from Ireland to Kiev on the afternoon of October 20, 2021. It landed at Hostomel Airport (HML), also known as Antonov Airport.
AN-225 returned to the base after a series of commercial flights— ANTONOV Company (@AntonovCompany) October 20, 2021
The world’s largest transport aircraft #AN225 returned to the base airfield – “#Kyiv–#Antonov-2″ after three commercial flights. The mission proceeded 20 days. During this time, the AN-225 performed 12 flights. pic.twitter.com/smNOqS7IaB
The Antonov An-225 Mriya boasts the largest mass of any aircraft ever built, and its wingspan is the third largest, behind the Scaled Composites Stratolaunch and the Hughes H-4 Hercules.
The aircraft holds dozens of world records, including one for the heaviest payload ever carried by an aircraft, 247,000 kilograms (545,000 pounds), which is the equivalent of five disassembled Boeing 737s, almost two Boeing 747s, or approximately 3,500 washing machines.
Only one An-225 was ever constructed. It was built in the late 1980s to carry rocket parts and Buran space shuttles for the Soviet space program, but was repurposed as a commercial cargo aircraft in the 2000s.
This is Mriya’s third and longest mission this year. According to Radarbox data, the aircraft conducted a flight between Pakistan and the United Kingdom on June 22-24, 2021, followed by several flights between Germany and various destinations in Western and Southern Africa on July 5-10. In August, the airplane underwent an extensive testing program, performing six more flights.