Giant Antonov returns to the skies

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March 26, 2020
A file pic of The AN-225. Photo: Antonov Airlines.

The world’s biggest plane, the Antonov AN-225, is back in the skies and may soon be making a welcome return to the cargo market.

Flightradar24 recorded a March 25 flight of just under two hours by the giant, six-engine Antonov AN-255 at its home in Kyiv, where it has been undergoing a major upgrade.

AN-225 Antonov
Flightradar24 tracked the flight.

It was spotted by AN-225 enthusiast and Popular Mechanics writer Eric Adams who said the aircraft entered the maintenance and upgrade program in October, 2018.

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“The flight lasted two hours, with the aircraft completing two laps above the Ukrainian countryside before returning to Antonov Aiport (GML),” Adams said.

“The airstrip is owned by the company and serves as the primary R&D and flight test center for its heavy-duty cargo aircraft.”

The AN-225 caused traffic chaos in Perth, Australia, when it visited in 2016 to deliver a 117-tonne power generator.

Watch the AN-225 land in Perth

Called Mriya (Dream in Ukrainian), the plane was developed for the Soviet space program to carry the Buran spaceplane and Energiya rocket.

It entered commercial service in 2001 and has set more than 240 world records during its lifetime.

The monster plane has a maximum take-off weight of 640 tonnes. is powered by six turbofan engines and a landing gear system boasting 32 wheels.