The An-124, NATO
code name "Condor
," is one of the largest aircraft
in the world today. In fact, before it was expanded and modified to become the An-225
, it was
the largest aircraft in the world—and it maintains the title of largest aircraft to ever enter mass production
It is physically very similar to the American C-5 Galaxy, but much bigger, carrying 25% more payload. Its landing gear is especially impressive, an array of some 24 wheels that give it takeoff and landing capability on a variety of terrain.
28 An-124's are operated by the Russian Army. 20 more are operated by Antonov Airlines, Volga-Dniepr, and Poliot, and two are owned by the Russian transport ministry. They have been used to carry locomotives, yachts, aircraft fuselages, and a variety of other oversized cargoes. Up to 150 metric tons of cargo can be squeezed into a military-spec An-124: it can also carry 88 passengers in an upper deck behind the cockpit.
A Ukrainian An-124 recently made a cameo appearance in the James Bond film Die Another Day, where it was outfitted with a lower observation deck that it doesn't have in reality. It makes for an awesome supervillain rig, though.
Wingspan: 240' 5" (73.3 m)
Length: 226' 3" (69 m)
Weight, loaded: 893,000 lb (405,000 kg)
Engines: 4 Lotarev D-18T turbofans, 51,600 lb of thrust each
Cruising speed: 497 mph (800 km/h)
Range: 8,900 mi (16,500 km) (2,430 mi/3,900 km with maximum payload)
Service Ceiling: 35,000 ft (12,000 m)
First flight: 1982
Used by: Russia, Ukraine