The Antonov AN-225 "Mriya" lives on. After 30 years of service, the world's largest aircraft—and the only AN-225 in existence—was destroyed during Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, 2022. However, aviation fans will get to see the AN-225 fly again, as it's been reborn in Microsoft's Flight Simulator.
Aviation fans have long loved the Ukrainian-built Antonov AN-225 for its massive size, incredible record-breaking capability, and its mechanical beauty. Its destruction during the Battle of the Hostomel Airport was a twist of the knife by Russian forces, as Ukraine was not only under attack but a beloved icon of Ukrainian achievement was gone.
The AN-225 Mriya was built by Antonov in 1988 and was originally intended to carry the Soviet-built Buran-class space shuttle. It was not only the world's longest aircraft when it was first built but it held that title until its destruction in 2022. Not only was it the world's largest aircraft, it was capable of carrying the most weight. After the Soviet Union fell, the AN-225 no longer had a purpose and was put in storage. However, in the early 2000s, Ukraine dusted it off and decided to use the AN-225 as a cargo plane for other countries and it broke world records for weight transported, after it carried 280 tons (559,577 pounds) worth of cargo. That record still stands today. Its maximum payload capacity was over 275 tons (551,155 pounds) and a maximum take-off weight of over 705 tons (1,410,958 pounds).
Starting February 27, the Antonov AN-225 will be digitally reborn as a $20 DLC (downloadable content) for Microsoft's Flight Simulator. Antonov worked with Microsoft and iniBuilds to bring the legendary plane back to life and Dmitry Antonov, pilot of the AN-225 for 30 years, spoke during a Microsoft livestream to announce that the plane would be joining the simulator. All of the proceeds of Antonov AN-225 DLC sales will go to a Ukrainian project to rebuild the destroyed AN-225.
This is an incredibly cool way to not only remember a lost legend of aviation but also help fund its potential revival.
Got tips? Send 'em to firstname.lastname@example.org