World's Biggest Cargo Plane Makes Crucial Disaster Relief Voyage to Guam
The world’s largest cargo aircraft has been called in to pick up disaster relief supplies in anticipation of Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit Guam earlier this week. The Antonov An-225 “Mriya” (“Dream”) flew directly from its home base in Ukraine to Oakland, California where the supplies were picked up.
The massive plane was designed in the 1980’s as part of the Soviet Space program. The plane’s first job was used to move the space shuttle Buran from landing zones back to its home base.
The Americans had similar transportation problems but used a modified 747 to transport their part of the space race. The Mriya is the only aircraft of its kind in existence.
Watching the video of the plane land at Oakland gives you some idea of its size, but this thing is truly massive. The plane has a wingspan of 88 meters and is more than 17 meters tall. It can carry up to 326 tons of fuel and cargo at a time.
Its cargo store area is about 44 meters deep, 6.5 meters wide and just over 4 meters tall. The flight from Gostomel, Ukraine took 13 hours, with the plane passing over Belarus, Finland, Norway, Greenland, Canada, and finally the United States.
The plane picked up 140 tons of U.S. Military Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), water, and other disaster relief supplies. It stopped for refueling in Honolulu before reaching Guam where it deposited its cargo before Typhoon Mangkhut arrived.