Flightradar24 Blog

A tribute to the Antonov AN-225

Share this article

New photos from Hostomel Airport outside Kyiv confirm that the Antonov AN-225 ‘Mriya’ (Dream) has been destroyed, likely beyond repair. Here’s a look back at the life of the world’s largest cargo aircraft and single most popular aircraft to track on Flightradar24 ever.

In need of a giant—building the AN-225

The Antonov An-225 ‘Mriya’ was originally developed as a transport for the Buran space plane and the rocket boosters that would carry it to space. It was slated to replace the Myasischev VM-T Atlant as the Soviet Union’s heaviest lifter. Based on the smaller An-124, the An-225 shares a similar forward loading method of ‘kneeling’ to load cargo through its large open front when the nose is tilted skyward. The empennage was redesigned with twin vertical stabilizers to enable the carriage of large external loads, like the Buran, leaving the An-225 without a rear cargo door.

The An-225 carrying the Buran.

AN-225 by the numbers

While the AN-225 was originally build to carry most of its cargo on the outside, the interior is no less impressive. The cargo area measures 43 meters long by 6.4 meters wide by 4.4 meters tall, with 1300 cubic meters of usable cargo area capable of carrying just over 250 tonnes, leading to dozens of world records. All of this weight is supported by a main landing gear featuring 14 wheels per side and a dual front gear with 4 wheels. Given the size and weight, the AN-225 needed extra power, which is why 2 engines were added during the design phase, giving the aircraft six D-18 engines.

Getting the AN-225 flying again

After the cancellation of the Buran program the AN-225 sat in storage until 2001. It was refurbished and entered commercial cargo service in 2002. Over the past 20 years it has attracted the attention of millions around the world landing on six continents carrying food stuffs, military equipment, oil and gas machinery, and relief supplies all over the world. The An-225 first appeared on Flightradar24 in May of 2013 during a flight from Houston to Bangor.

First instance of the An-225 onFlightradar24

After completing flights to Australia and Chile in 2016 the An-225 went through extensive upgrades, including the installation of an ADS-B transponder. In 2018, the aircraft returned to service making multiple trips between Germany and Saudi Arabia carrying oil and gas equipment. In the summer, the aircraft came to the western hemisphere, bringing large mining equipment and generators to Bolivia. And in September 2018, the An-225 performed an around-the-world flight from Kyiv, bringing relief supplies to Guam in the wake of Typhoon Mangkhut via Oakland and Honolulu, then returning home via Rayong.

From 2018, the An-225 has spent over a year receiving major upgrades to its power plant control systems as well as electrical modifications, such as LED lighting. In April 2020 it began flights to bring medical supplies for battling COVID-19 from China to Europe. It’s final batch of flights continued the medical supply transport. The last ever AN-225 mission carried PPE to Denmark on 4 February 2022.

The Antonov AN-225’s final flights

5-Feb-22Billund (BLL)Kyiv (GML)
4-Feb-22Bishkek (FRU)Billund (BLL)
3-Feb-22Tianjin (TSN)Bishkek (FRU)
2-Feb-22Tianjin (TSN)Tianjin (TSN)
2-Feb-22Kyiv (GML)Tianjin (TSN)
25-Jan-22Linz (LNZ)Kyiv (GML)
24-Jan-22Bishkek (FRU)Linz (LNZ)
23-Jan-22Tianjin (TSN)Bishkek (FRU)
21-Jan-22Kyiv (GML)Tianjin (TSN)
20-Jan-22Montreal (YMX)Kyiv (GML)
18-Jan-22Leipzig (LEJ)Montreal (YMX)
18-Jan-22Bishkek (FRU)Leipzig (LEJ)
16-Jan-22Tianjin (TSN)Bishkek (FRU)
15-Jan-22Athens (ATH)Tianjin (TSN)
14-Jan-22Bishkek (FRU)Athens (ATH)
12-Jan-22Tianjin (TSN)Bishkek (FRU)
11-Jan-22Rzeszow (RZE)Tianjin (TSN)
9-Jan-22Istanbul (IST)Rzeszow (RZE)
9-Jan-22Bishkek (FRU)Istanbul (IST)
7-Jan-22Tianjin (TSN)Bishkek (FRU)
6-Jan-22Kyiv (GML)Tianjin (TSN)

Photos of the AN-225 from JetPhotos

We’ve included some of our favorites from over the years below, you can view nearly 1700 photos of the AN-225 Mriya in the JetPhotos catalog.

Hope for the dream

Antonov announced in November 2022 that it has begun design work for a new An-225. The second, unfinished frame was undamaged in fighting and remains available for completion. Antonov says it will begin assembly immediately after the war.

On The Radar Logo

Get the latest aviation news delivered to you

Get the latest aviation news delivered to you

Flight tracking and aviation industry news direct to your inbox

Aviation news comes quickly, so join more than 600,000 others who receive weekly aviation industry and flight tracking news from Flightradar24 direct to their inbox.

Share this article

Useful flight tracking glossary

View our glossary of terms which you may encounter either on our site or in aviation in general that we hope enriches your flight tracking experience.

About Flightradar24

Flightradar24 is a global flight tracking service that provides you with real-time information about thousands of aircraft around the world.

Don't miss out on the latest Flightradar24 videos!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our latest videos as soon as they’re published!

Latest video
On The Radar Logo
Get weekly updates on Flightradar24 and have the latest aviation news land in your inbox.

How flight tracking works

Flightradar24 combines data from several data sources including ADS-B, MLAT and radar data.
Search the blog
Trending articles
Follow us
Latest AvTalk Podcasts
Related news

Flight tracking top 10 aircraft

Explore the top 10 most tracked aircraft and find out why these particular aircraft draw so much interest.

Help to grow our flight tracking coverage

We are continually looking to improve our flight tracking and the airports below are where new receivers will add the most coverage. Apply for a receiver today and if accepted you’ll receiver a free Flightradar24 Business Subscription.

Free ADS-B Receiver
Flightradar24 logo
Try the full Flightradar24 experience free for 7 days
Remove ads and unlock over 50 additional features
On The Radar Logo

Get the Flightradar24 Aviation newsletter

Flight tracking and aviation industry news direct to your inbox

Aviation news comes quickly, so we want to bring more of the aviation world to you with our weekly Flightradar24 aviation newsletter - On The Radar.

On The Radar Logo
AvTalk Logo

Don't miss the latest Flightradar24 podcast!

With your hosts

Ian Petchenik

Ian Petchenik

Jason Rabinowitz

Jason Rabinowitz