World's biggest plane, An-225 Mryia, destroyed in attack on Hostomel airport

4 March 2022, 09:16 | Updated: 4 March 2022, 10:21

By Asher McShane

The world’s biggest plane, the one-of-a-kind Antonov An-225 Mriya, has been destroyed in its hangar by missiles targeting Ukraine's Hostomel airport.

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The plane’s nose, wings and engines appear completely destroyed in imagery emerging from the ground from the airport near Kyiv today in video from a Russian state TV news crew.

Russian state TV visited the airport and their footage shows the inside of the hangar, with the plane and the hangar itself almost totally destroyed.

The world's biggest plane, a symbol of national pride for Ukrainians, was destroyed in the fighting
The world's biggest plane, a symbol of national pride for Ukrainians, was destroyed in the fighting. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

The nose of the aircraft appears totally wrecked. Some parts of the fuselage, the left wing and possibly the tail could still remain intact to some extent.

Hostomel airport became one of the Russians’ most sought after targets of their invasion of Ukraine.

Huge damage has been done to the airfield to the north west of Kyiv in fighting over the past week. Video footage has shown the smouldering wreckage of the plane, surrounded by wreckage of its hangar with numerous craters on the tarmac, where multiple Russian military vehicles were parked up.

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The An-225 Mriya was the only operational example of the aircraft in existence. The plane itself was a symbol of pride for the people of Ukraine.

A pilot posted online: "As an aviation fan and private pilot, this breaks my heart. Very tragic loss of such huge

accomplishment."

An aviaition enthusiast posted: "The AN-225 is really one of my favorite Aircraft of all time. Her contributions to patriotism, transportation, and humanitarian aid are larger than life. You will be missed Mryia!"

Two Ukrainian Government accounts posted that the aircraft had been destroyed in the fighting.

The plane’s creator, Antonov Company, posted online 20 hours ago: “Currently until the AN225 has been inspected by experts we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft. Please wait for official announcements about the condition of the aircraft.”

They posted later: “The dream will never die.”

However video footage circulated online in recent days appears to confirm that the aircraft has been destroyed.

NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System detected multiple fires at the airport, including at the hangar where the plane is stored

Officials said Antonov AN-225 had been "a symbol of Ukraine’s aviation capabilities".

It is the heaviest aircraft ever built and boasts a maximum take-off weight of around 598 tonnes.

Designers also gave it the largest wingspan – 88.4 m – of any airplane in operational service.

The plane dates back to the Soviet era, and had been used at times to airlift humanitarian aid to other countries.

The plane several records during its operation, including the world record for the weight of payload carried by a single plane: 253,802kg.

It could fit four full-size battle tanks into its massive fuselage all at once.