Pop Quiz: What’s the Largest Airplane in the World?

By: | September 25th, 2013

Many people have been tripped up by the question, “What is the largest airplane in the world?”

Howard Hughes is famous for many things but the Hughes H-4 Hercules, more commonly known as the “Spruce Goose”, is near the top. Most people would say the “Spruce Goose” is the largest airplane in the world but that’s not the case. It does hold the record for largest wingspan but it’s actually shorter than the Soviet Union’s Antonov line.

 A Comparison By Wingspan And Length

The Antonov An-225 wins the title of largest airplane in the world. It has an impressive list of accomplishments on record too, such as flying commercially with more than 216,000 meals for American military personnel and carrying two 42-meter wind turbine blades from China to Denmark.

Roots in the Soviet Union

Antonov State Company is the Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing company in the business of building very large airplanes as well as planes capable of landing on relatively rough terrain. They are most famous for “An-22 Antheus (Cock)”, the “An-124 Ruslan (Condor)” and the “An-225 Mriya (Cossack)” cargolifters.

The company was born in 1946 as one of the Soviet Union’s top-secret research and design companies building mostly turboprop military transport planes. Antonov has a long history of planes being used in heavy combat, such as Vietnam, and around the world in civilian use.


Storied History: One of the World’s Most Successful Airplane Manufacturers

Words like “winged tank”, “float-equipped”, “whether reconnaissance”, “glider”, “extremely large turboprop transport”, “aerial photography and mapping”, “airliner” and “naval AWACS” are just a few of the words to describe the storied history of Antonov, one of the largest and well-known aircraft manufacturers in the world with over 25,000 aircraft built.

The Antonov An-225 can carry loads up to 250 feet long by 32 feet wide, weighing up to 550,000 pounds. The cargo bay has a built-in overhead traveling crane for completely assembled cargo such as drilling rigs. Take a look at these impressive airplanes, including their specs:

 Antonov An-22


Antonov An 124


 Antonov An 225

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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