Antonov An-225

Largest Cargo Aircraft

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Below is a list of the largest Cargo Aircraft by length, wingspan and load in tonnes. The tonne, or metric ton (U.S.) is a unit of mass equal to 1,000 kg (2,204.62262 lb) or approximately the mass of one cubic metre of water at four degrees Celsius.

Hughes H-4 Hercules, length 218 ft, wingspan 320 ft.

The Hughes H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose") was a prototype heavy transport aircraft designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft company. The aircraft made its only flight on November 2, 1947. It had to be built from wood because of wartime raw material restrictions on the use of aluminum.

That aircraft has fascinating dimensions, even compared to the largest modern aircraft.


Hughes H-4 Hercules

Antonov An-225, length 275 ft, wingspan 290 ft, load 250 tonnes.

The An-225 is a strategic airlift transport aircraft built by the Antonov Design Bureau, USSR. It is the world's largest fixed-wing aircraft that first flew in 1988. The aircraft was built to transport the Buran Orbiter, the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Space Shuttle.

The Antonov An-225 is commercially available for flying over-sized payloads due to the unique size of its cargo deck. Currently there is only one aircraft operating.


Antonov An-225

Airbus A380F, length 240 ft, wingspan 261 ft, load 150 tonnes.

The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus. The largest passenger airliner in the world, the A380 made its maiden flight April 27th 2005 from Toulouse, France, and made its first commercial flight October 25th 2007 from Singapore to Sydney with Singapore Airlines.

The A380F is the cargo version of this airliner.


Airbus A380

Antonov An-124, length 226 ft, wingspan 240 ft, load 150 tonnes.

The Antonov An-124 Ruslan was the largest airplane in production from 1986 until the Antonov An-225 was built. Over forty are currently in service.

Externally, the An-124 is similar to the American Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, but has a 25% larger payload. Up to 150 tonnes of cargo can be carried in a military An-124; it can also carry 88 passengers in an upper deck behind the wing centre section.


Antonov An-124

Boeing 747-8F, length 250 ft, wingspan 224 ft, load 134 tonnes.

The Boeing 747 is a widebody commercial airliner, often referred to by the nickname Jumbo Jet. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, the first widebody ever produced. The original version of the 747 was two and a half times the size of the Boeing 707, one of the common large commercial aircraft of the 1960s.

First flown commercially in 1970, the 747 held the passenger capacity record for 37 years. The freight version followed soon after the passenger airliner. A 747 was also converted to transport the U.S. Space Shuttle.


Boeing 747

C-5 Galaxy, length 247 ft, wingspan 222 ft, load 122 tonnes.

The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large, military transport aircraft designed to provide strategic heavy airlift over intercontinental distances and to carry outsize and oversize cargo. The C-5 Galaxy has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since 1969.

There will be no more C-5 Galaxy's built. Many will be upgraded to extend their service life. The U.S. Air Force is looking to replace them with the U.S. C-17 Globemaster III or Airbus A380 freighters.


C-5 Galaxy

Antonov An-22, length 190 ft, wingspan 211 ft, load 80 tonnes.

The Antonov An-22 was the world's largest aircraft from entering service in 1967, until the advent of the American C-5 Galaxy in 1969. Powered by four contra-rotating turboprops, the design remains the world's largest turboprop-powered aircraft. It first appeared outside the Soviet Union at the 1965 Paris Air Show.

Approximately 45 remained in service by the mid-1990s, mostly with the Russian Air Force, but these are slowly being replaced by the bigger turbofan-powered Antonov An-124. As of 2004, there had been 8 accidents with a total of 83 fatalities.


Antonov An-22

C-17 Globemaster III, length 174 ft, wingspan 169 ft, load 77 tonnes.

The Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas) C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft developed for the United States Air Force from the 1980s.

The C-17 is operated by the US Air Force, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, NATO, and Qatar, while the United Arab Emirates has placed orders.


C-17 Globemaster III

Listed below are some other specialized Cargo Aircraft.

Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter - 154 tonnes

Airbus Beluga - 47 tonnes

Antonov An-70 - 47 tonnes

Ilyushin Il-76 - 45 – 47 tonnes

C-141 Starlifter - 45 tonnes

Aero Spacelines Super Guppy - 25 tonnes

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