SEPANG -Â The world’s largest cargo plane, the Antonov AN-225 Mriya, touched down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport here at 8.30am Saturday, Bernama tweeted.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd corporate communications general manager Nik Anis Nik Zakaria had earlier said that the aircraft was at KLIA for refuelling purposes only.
The giant transport plane picked up a generator and fitments with a total weight about 130 tons in Prague, Czech Republic and will deliver it to Perth in Australia.
The plane had previous stopovers in Turkmenistan and landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on Thursday.
The Antonov AN-225 Mriya wide-body aircraft is powered by six turbofan engines and is the longest and heaviest airplane ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes.
The plane was built in the former Soviet Union in 1988 in order to carry out its own attempt at a space shuttle, called ‘Buran’.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Buran program was shut down and the plane was left on the territory of independent Ukraine.
In 2001 the plane was restored and given a second lease of life.
Able to carry up to 250 tons, loaded through the plane’s nose, the commercial plane is designed for carrying super heavy cargo.
The Antonov AN-225 Mriya (meaning Dream in Ukrainian) has always received red-carpet attention whenever it makes an appearance.
Be it upon arrival or departure, the AN-225 is constantly pursued by aircraft enthusiasts and plane spotters every time it makes a landing or take-off.
There are even websites where fans of the AN-225 closely watch and exchange information on the whereabouts of the freighter aircraft.
So, what makes the Antonov AN-225 Mriya so interesting? Here are the five most interesting facts about the freighter:
1. For over 25 years, the AN-225 has held the title of the biggest commercially used freighter in the world. Powered by six turbofan engines, it is the biggest heavier-than-air aircraft in terms of length (85.3m) and wingspan (88m) in operational service. It is able of carrying up to 250 tons of cargo, which is equivalent to the average weight of 52 mature elephants.
2. There is only one operational AN-225 in the world.
3. The Ukrainian plane manufacturer Antonov developed the AN-225 during the Cold War in the 1980â€™s to airlift (in a piggyback fashion) the Buran spacecraft for the Soviet space program. The maiden flight took place on 21 December 1988 and six months later the AN-225, with the Buran atop, was presented for the first time in the west at the Paris Air Show in 1989.
4. The AN-225 is an extension of the successful Antonov AN-124 Ruslan freight aircraft â€“ the hull and the wingspan were both extended by 15m. The plan was to build an extended version of the AN-225 freighter with eight engines, but the project named AN-325 has not been realised. The AN-225 is currently the only commercial freighter powered by six engines.
5. The AN-225 has set over 200 world records, including airlifting the worldâ€™s heaviest cargo, and the worldâ€™s longest cargo.
Exclusively used for charter flights, Chapman Freeborn has performed many successful airfreight projects with the AN-225, delivering reliable air cargo charter solutions for our clients. We have organised the first transatlantic flight from Frankfurt-Hahn to Toronto, as well as the first commercial flight of the AN-225 to South America in 2010. – MyNewshub/Bernama/chapman freeborn