Features

The World’s Largest Aircraft is Back for Round 2

(and now you can fly it)

Everybody knows of the Antonov An-225 Mriya. That one truly enormous aircraft that’s probably got the Guinness World Record for the greatest number of aircraft-related World Records – it’s carried the largest payload at 247,000kg as well as the longest single piece of cargo at 42m. It’s even hosted the highest altitude art exhibition!

But almost a year ago, right at the start of the War in Ukraine, we were all saddened to learn of its demise at the Battle of Antonov Airport.

Amongst all of that mess, there’s a shiny piece of good news.

Wreckage of the An-225 Mriya from the front, after its destruction during the Battle of Antonov Airport

Firstly, they’re gonna rebuild it! … sort of.

There’s actually a second half-built An-225 that was mothballed following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was pulled out of storage in the 2000s to be slowly completed and, as of 2016, it’s 60-70% of the way there.

On May 20 2022, Volodomyr Zelenskyy announced his intentions to finally complete it, both to replace the destroyed original and as a tribute to all the Ukrainian pilots killed during war.

More recently in November, Ukroboronprom, the parent company of Antonov, has announced that the project is underway at a $500 million price tag with the rebuild positioned as an “international project” undertaken with the help of aviation enterprises all over the world.

Gostomel, Ukraine – April 11 2020: Antonov An-225 Mriya take off. The aircraft will bring medical supplies into Poland to support the country’s effort to fight the Covid-19 pandemic

Secondly, it’s coming to Flight Simulator!

Antonov announced via Twitter on Feb 3 2023 that they’d worked out a license agreement with Microsoft for the right to use the An-225 in an upcoming release of Microsoft Flight Simulator with the proceeds going to Antonov to help fund the real-life rebuild and towards the recovery efforts elsewhere in Ukraine.

If the development schedule plays out right, then you should be able to jump on right now, grab the DLC, and start flying the An-225 for yourself!

Lastly, you can build a scale model too.

Metal Time Workshop has also released a scale model of the Mriya (which translates to “Ukrainian Dream”) which you can build yourself, and it includes a little wind-up mechanism to spin the turbines and open the nose – cute!