How Antonov’s world record-breaking cargo plane defined Ukraine

Science and Innovation, Stories, Ukraine

The world’s biggest plane – made in Ukraine. The record breaking AN-225, also called “Mriya” was built 28 years ago – and today, the huge cargo plane is renowned around the world. Let’s discover more about the extraordinary plane – from the man who piloted it – for the first time.

Ukraine’s iconic Antonov AN-225 Mriya is the biggest plane in the world. Built in 1988, it was designed to carry space rocket engines for the USSR’s space program. Mriya, which translates to “dream” in Ukrainian, is one of a kind. The aircraft’s first flight was on December 21, 1988.

71 year old Oleksander Halyunenko was Mriya’s first pilot. He recalled his time as pilot of the world’s largest airplane.

Firstly, this is a normal job. You have your job and I have my job. You have one and I have one. Just like your job I follow instructions, mine are written by engineers. And then I do that.”

The pilot calls the first flight a glorious experience. The plane’s practical characteristics perfectly corresponded to the engineer’s plans.

“I am proud that our prominent engineers have created such a wonder. There are a lot of companies who build planes in the world. And in very prosperous countries too, where they have a lot of money. But they still couldn’t make a plane like that. And our engineers succeeded. That’s why I bow before these outstanding people,” says Halunenko.

Mriya earned its place in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest aircraft 28 years ago. It also set hundreds of new records simultaneously, with French Fédération Aéronautique Internationale finding more than 110 unique achievements. For example, the plane managed to take off with 165 tons of cargo on board and climb to an altitude of 12 430 meters before traveling 2000 kilometers. Mriya maintained a speed of 816 km/h for the journey.

No one has ever carried such a load and had a takeoff mass of 508 tons. This has never happened before. This automatically broke all the records,” emphasizes Halunenko.

The plane was originally designed to carry the “Energy” rocket system and the “Buran” spacecraft. Unfortunately, the program was canceled but Mriya’s first flight carried the “Buran” spacecraft on board. Mriya’s arrival at the Le Bourget Airport in Paris was seen as one of Ukraine’s greatest achievements and stunning success in the aeronautic industry.

After the closure of Soviet space program, Mriya fell into disuse. However, Antonov Airlines updated the plane in 2000, and on May 7th 2001, Mriya was reborn. Once again the plane broke aviation records. After the upgrade, it took flight while carrying 5 tanks weighting 253 tons in total. The plane climbed to almost 11 thousand meters with the load and broke 124 international records during the flight.

This was during the warm part of the year, and in the hot time of the year nobody tries to break carrying capacity records. This must be done in winter, when the air is thicker. Despite that, the plane managed to complete the task.The plane has enormous potential to set these records,” recalled Mykola Kalashnykov, AN-225 engineer.

Now Mriya is used for transporting superheavy cargo, humanitarian aid, and conducts transportation services for European NATO members. Every time Mriya makes a landing, crowds gather to marvel at the giant Ukrainian plane.

One of Mriya’s latest journeys was to Australia. Thousands of Perth residents gathered to watch the AN-225 land. Afterwards a Ukrainian flag was raised in honour of the occasion.

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  • Robert

    Keep setting World records, Ukraine! :)

    Slava Ukraini!

    • Andrew Chmile

      “Alex George” is a Ruskki mole — just so you know…

  • Alex George

    Amazing how they got the plane refurbished and flying again. My friend sent me photos when it flew to Perth – everyone was impressed. I just hope that Antonov can get fully back on its feet. Putin must be cursing that his attempt to take over all of eastern Ukraine failed in 2014 – he would have got Antonov and Motor Sich and the space program.

    • Andrew Chmile

      SHUT UP!!! RUSKI ***MOLE*** !!!

      Go back up the “moderators” — MOLES/TROLLS — TRUMP SUPPORTERS of __Ukraine Today USA__ & __THE TRUMP CHANNEL__

      New group in town —- YOU “CLEVER MONHOLS” !!! :))

      Friends of Ukraine Against Trump

      • Alex George

        Ah yes, Andrew the Putin troll is back. You don’t like people praising Ukraine or its industries, do you?

        • Andrew Chmile

          You like sucking my dik, don’t you?

          • Alex George

            Sure, keep dodging, you frightened little man. But what I wrote is the truth – you don’t like people who praise Ukraine or its industries, and you attack them.

          • Andrew Chmile

            “Sure, keep dodging, you frightened little man. But what I wrote is
            the truth – you don’t like people who praise Ukraine or its industries,
            and you attack them.”

            Is that why ***YOU*** hide your posting profile —- LITTLE MONHOL MAN??? :)))

            BTW —- with my expose of __UKRAINE TODAY USA__
            & __ THE TRUMP CHANNEL__ guess who now HIDE THEIR POSTING PROFILES like you do, you GUTLESS, LYING, LITTLE RUSSO-MONGOLIAN faqqot!!!

            The very POS you defended! :))

            “Mike” the SERBIAN who claimed to be Ukrainian & “Vasyl P.”

            who “moderate” both Ruskli TROLL–MOLE groups! :)))


            Go eat RATS like you Ruski do!!!

            ASIATICS!!!! ANIMALS!!! LIARS & COWARDS!!! SCUM!!!!

            Rat meat burgers flooding Russian restaurant scene | Fox News

  …/rat-burgers-flooding-russian-restaurant-scene.htmlNov 29, 2016 – Do we smell a rat? … Would you eat a burger made with rat meat? Rats are invading Russian restaurants– but don’t worry, they’re not on the …

            Russian restaurant serves up RAT burger to diners saying the meat …
  …/russian-restaurant-serves-up-rat-burger-to-diners-saying-the…Nov 21, 2016 – THE sight of a rat in a restaurant would normally send you running for the door, but in Russia the rodents are being served up in the latest …

            Rat burgers offered by Krasnodar Bistro in Moscow, Russia | Metro News
   › Food › Food
            Nov 23, 2016 – This Russian restaurant is serving up burgers made from rat … I mean, I don’t even wash all my food before I eat it, so this rat has one up on me …

            Rat Burgers Gaining Popularity in Russia – IGN
   24, 2016 – One creature, known colloquially as the river rat, is being re-branded as a … was, you probably didn’t think “Boy, I’d sure like to eat that small animal!” … The river rat, as its sometimes known, is found in southern Russia and is …

          • Alex George

            Sorry I stopped reading after the first couple of sentences. And no, just because you make the occasional post about Russians eating rats, doesn’t change the fact that (a) you never post anything positive about Ukraine; and (b) you regularly flame those who do write positive things about Ukraine.

            Nor does it change the self-evident fact that your involvement on this particular thread is solely because you didn’t like me praising Ukraine or its industries. Which is typical of you.

  • Murf

    That plane still boggles my mind.
    It amazes me a mountain of metal can even move much less deify Gravity
    Slava Ukraine!