The World's Largest Aircraft DestroyedThe Antonov An-225 seen ten years ago in Sweden - LarskeThe war in Ukraine has brought many tragedies. It has displaced well over a million people and has no doubt been incredibly hard on families and children. In that context, the destruction of a single aircraft seems somewhat trivial, but to aviation enthusiasts around the world, the destruction of the An-225, the only one of its kind, is still tremendously sad.Developed from the Antonov An-124 strategic airlifter, the giant An-225 Mriya (Dream) was originally designed to transport orbiters and rocket boosters for the Soviet space programme. The only one of her kind, the An-225 completed her maiden flight on 21 December 1988. Construction of a second example was halted in the early 1990s, during the collapse of the Soviet Union. At the same time, the sole operational An-225 was placed in storage, until about ten years later, when she was restored and prepared for heavy cargo transport duties with Antonov Airlines, based in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Over the years, Antonov's behemoth broke numerous world records in terms of cargo size and weight. Wherever she flew, crowds of aviation enthusiasts and photographers gathered to see the incredible sight of the huge, six-engined aircraft.

On 27 February, this year, it was confirmed that the An-225 has been destroyed at Antonov Airport in Kyiv. Depending on whom you would like to believe, the aircraft had either been destroyed by a Russian airstrike, or Ukrainian artillery.
Antonov An-225 transporting a Buran orbiter at the 1989 Paris Air Show - Ralf Manteufel
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