World's Largest Propeller Plane Takes off in Manchester

The largest propeller plane in the world has touched down at Manchester Airport for a flying visit to the city. The rare Antonov AN-22 is a military transport aircraft designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in Kiev, Ukraine. It was originally due to land in Manchester on Thursday afternoon but had its arrival pushed back, reports the Manchester Evening News.

The plane flew in from Helsinki and hit the tarmac in Manchester at 12.06pm on Friday, December 1. It provided a treat for the hundreds of aircraft enthusiasts that gathered at the airport to catch a glimpse of the colossal visitor. It has the ability to carry between five and eight crew members and up to 28 passengers, but only one production variant was ever built.

With four contra-rotating propellers, it’s the largest turboprop-powered aircraft in the world. Around for 50 years now, it first appeared publicly outside the Soviet Union at the 1965 Paris Air Show. Since then, the model has been used in major military and humanitarian airlifts for the Soviet Union and Russia. The aircraft is capable of 460mph and has a staggering 211ft wingspan. Its capacity is considerable, with its hold able to swallow 80,000kg of cargo, including oversized items such as battle tanks.

It’s not the first time a monster plane has caused a stir. In September 2015 the Antonov AN-124, a Ukranian cargo plane, landed at Manchester ahead of a flight to Iraq to deliver fire trucks. And it was a big hit with hundreds of avid fans who watched it touch down. They swarmed the viewing platforms at the airport’s Runway Visitor Park beside the airport to get a view of the beast of the skies. Also Soviet-built, the Antonov AN-124 is the largest military plane in the world.