Life's Little Mysteries

What's the World's Biggest Airplane?

With a wingspan of 290 feet (88.4 meters) almost the length of football field and a maximum take-off weight of 1.3 million pounds (600,000 kilograms), the Antonov-225 is the world's largest airplane.

This giant among planes was built in the 1980s to carry the Russian spacecraft Buran the country's first space shuttle.

The Antonov-225, which is also called Mriya (which means "dream" in Ukranian), is considered a cargo plane, as it is used to transport large objects such as cars instead of people. And while no longer used to ferry the space shuttle, the Antonov-225 still has its uses. In June 2010, the Dream carried its longest cargo yet two wind turbine blades each measuring 138 feet (42.1 meters).

Other large planes include the Airbus 380-800, which has a wingspan of 261 feet (79.8 meters) and a maximum take-off weight of 1.2 million lbs (560,187 kg). The A380, which made its first test flight in April 2005, took the number one slot as the largest passenger airplane from the Boeing 747-400. It also claims to burn 20 percent less fuel per seat than the 747-400, according to Airbus.

The Boeing 747-400 has a wingspan of 211 feet (64.4 meters) and maximum take-off weight of 875,000 lbs (396,890 kg).

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Michelle Bryner
Michelle writes about technology and chemistry for Live Science. She has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the Salisbury University, a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a degree in Science Journalism from New York University. She is an active Muay Thai kickboxer at Five Points Academy and loves exploring NYC with friends.