When the Antonov AN-225 landed for fuel in Anchorage on the way to Quebec with Covid-19 medical supplies in 2020, Anchorage residents crowded the end of the runway to see the world’s largest plane. For most, that would be the last time they ever saw that marvel of technology.
The enormous Antonov AN-225 jet, which was a Ukrainian-owned aircraft also called “Mriya,” set the Guinness world record for being the heaviest aircraft ever built. It weighed 705 tons and had a wingspan of 290 feet.
The Russian military held the area for weeks until Ukrainian forces claimed it back this weekend. While most aircraft had left the runway, the Antonov AN-225 was undergoing repairs, and wasn’t able to take off.
It’s now in pieces, bombed to smithereens by Russia at the Antonov Airport on the outskirts of Kyiv. Since Saturday’s bombing, Ukrainian forces have retaken that airport territory near the Ukrainian capital, as Russia searches elsewhere for weak spots, probably in the country’s southern and eastern regions.
It was designed and built in the 1980s in Soviet Ukraine, originally as a military jet. Later, it was dormant for eight years and then refurbished and turned into a massive cargo plane for commercial uses, carrying oversized loads. Wherever it flew, people often flocked to see it land and take off.
Watch this video of the Mriya touching down in Anchorage in 2020. Matt Steele recorded the event: