That's a Big Bird!


World’s Largest Plane Touches down at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

With its wingspan of 290-feet and a heft totaling 628,000 pounds, the Antonov An-225 dwarfs most other aircraft. But this giant of aviation accomplished a feat that even it would have been incapable of just a few months ago, landing at  Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, March 7. CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan  — The largest and heaviest aircraft in the world, the one-of-a-kind An-225 is currently operated by Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines and contracted to carry large cargo and supplies around the world.

I recall watching the An-225s fly into Baghdad during my time there, wondering what actually kept the aircraft in the air!  Remarkable aircraft, even if it was designed by “the other side” during the Cold War.

– Craig

7 thoughts on “That's a Big Bird!”

  1. Nothing says “expeditionary” like the Marines building an 11,500′ runway…

    Tell me again why they need the F-35B STOVL?

  2. Brad, they need it ’cause they said they need, and they are the Marines. I don’t see what the problem is here. May be it’s that Army dig face background that’s preventing you from understanding this.

    Seriously, the reason the Antonov design bureau designed the thing is they were told to do so in response to the C-5. The Politburo, and their lackeys, never had an awful lot of sense in these things. We built a big chunk of a plane that could get into the same fields the much smaller C-141 could get into, and they could only get into the largest of fields. It really would not have helped the Red Army much if the balloon had gone up. There were very few fields in western Europe it could have landed at.

    1. I’m willing to give the Anatov design bureau a bit of slack on the AN-225, since she was designed expressly to haul the Soviet space shuttle around, and hence short field performance wasn’t a big factor in the design.

  3. Keep in mind, gents, that the Marine expeditionary airfield used to be a 2200′ runway with catapult and arresting gear. EAF hasn’t been itself since HQMC abolished the cat back in late ’76, and since that time the runways just keep growing in length. One of these days we’re going to fight a war where there isn’t a whole lot of flat space, and somebody will have to reinvent the Short Airfield for Tactical Support (SATS). It may not be the most efficient airfield in the world, or easiest to put in the ground, but a land based Aircraft Carrier ain’t all bad.

    1. I’ve got a feeling they may regret doing away with the Cat. At times I wonder of Marine Air is trying to compete with the AF rather than be what they should be to the Marines.

  4. I saw some IL76s in and around Iraq (al Taqadam and BIAP) and down in Ali Al Salem Kuwait, but never an AN-225. Missed out there.

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