Until not so long ago, it was the largest airplane in the world, it flew all over the world and it was loved by every aviation enthusiast. Its name translates as ‘dream’ and it was originally built in order to carry the soviet Buran-class orbiters. It was developed during the 1980s in Soviet Ukraine by the Antonov Design Bureau and just one was ever completed. After fulfilling its military missions, the aircraft was mothballed for eight years, then it was refurbished and reintroduced into commercial operation with Antonov Airlines, carrying oversized payloads. While a second airframe with a slightly different configuration was partially built, construction was halted more than once due to a lack of funding and interest. This second aircraft was last brought up to 60–70% completion in 2009. With a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes (705 short tons), the An-225 held several records, including the heaviest aircraft ever built and the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service.
The lead designer of the AN-225 was Viktor Tolmachev and it was developed as a replacement for the Myasishchev VM-T. It flew for the first time on 21 December 1988 and it was on static display at the Paris Air Show in 1989. Two aircraft were ordered but only one An-225 was finished. It could carry ultra-heavy and oversized freight weighing up to 250,000 kg (550,000 lb) internally or 200,000 kg (440,000 lb) on the upper fuselage. Cargo on the upper fuselage can be 70 m (230 ft) long. The An-225’s pressurized cargo hold was 1,300 m3 (46,000 cu ft) in volume; 6.4 m (21 ft 0 in) wide, 4.4 m (14 ft) high, and 43.35 m (142 ft 3 in) long, which was longer than the first flight of the Wright Flyer.
Each engine had 23400Hp and the airplane had a total number of 6 engines. The wings were anhedral and had two root extensions in order to increase span. The flight control surfaces were controlled via fly-by-wire and triple-redundant hydraulics. This aircraft had 32 wheels, some of which were steerable, enabling the aircraft to turn within a 60-meter-wide runway. Unlike the An-124, the An-225 was not intended for tactical airlifting and was not designed for short-field operation. Initially, the An-225 had a maximum gross weight of 600 t (660 short tons; 590 long tons), but from 2000 to 2001, the aircraft underwent modifications at a cost of US$20 million, such as the addition of a reinforced floor, which increased the maximum gross weight to 640 t (710 short tons; 630 long tons).
In 2009 it set a record for the heaviest singular object ever transported. It was a 189 tones generator and in 2010 it transported a 42m long turbine blade. The An-225 was also contracted by the Canadian and US governments to transport military supplies to the Middle East. An example of the cost of shipping cargo by An-225 was over €266,000 for flying a chimney duct from Denmark to Kazakhstan in 2004.
On 25 March 2020, the freighter commenced a series of test flights from Hostomel Airport near Kyiv, after more than a year out of service, for the installation of a domestically designed power management and control system. It had a cruising speed of 430 kn (800km/h), a service ceiling of 11000m and a range of 15400km with maximum fuel but a range of only 4000km if it had a payload of 200tones.
Unfortunately, Mriya was destroyed during the Battle of Antonov Airport where it was undergoing repairs. Initially, it was believed that the airplane was intact but on 27 February, a photo was posted on Twitter of an object tentatively identified as the An-225 on fire in its hangar.
On 1 March, a new photograph, taken since the initial conflict, was tentatively identified as the tail of the aircraft protruding from its hangar, suggesting that it remained at least partly intact; however, further evidence proved to show that the aircraft is inoperable due to the extreme damage it sustained. On 4 March, footage on Russian state television Channel One showed clear ground images of the destroyed aircraft, with much of the front section missing.