The world’s largest airplane, the Antonov An225 Mriya, was born in the Soviet Union in 1988. It measured 275 feet long and weighed nearly 420,000 pounds, designed to piggyback the USSR’s Buran space shuttle much the same way NASA plopped its shuttles on top of a modified 747. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the world’s only Mriya was used for heavy air transport all around the world. It was destroyed last year, a casualty of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But now, it flies again — in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
As Luke Plucknett over at Kotaku first reported, Antonov confirms that it has worked with Microsoft as well as digital airframe modders IniBuilds to allow the enormous Mriya to fly again in digital form.
The Mriya’s numbers are truly astounding. It was designed to take off at a maximum weight of 705 tons — just over 1.4 million pounds. It’s not only the longest airplane ever built, it boasts the broadest wingspan at 290 feet — nearly end zone to end zone on an American football field. It could carry just over 99,000 gallons of fuel. With six jet engines, it could reach a maximum speed of 530 mph, and could cruise nearly 10,000 miles, though that range would drop significantly depending on how much cargo was stuffed inside.
Before its untimely demise, the Mriya flew a final mission delivering COVID test kits from China to Denmark. It was prepared for evacuation out of Ukraine on February 24th, but it never made it. Russian forces attacked Antonov Airport, and the Mriya was destroyed.
But it lives on in Flight Simulator. And as IniBuilds points out, you can get behind the stick for just $20, with proceeds going to “Antonov/Ukraine” as IniBuilds puts it.