Fighter airplanes are remembered to be incredible flying machines ever to graze the sky. Their enormous sizes that defy gravity to provide the most convenient transport on earth is in itself a mystery.
I have done a little digging around and came up with a list of ten monsters that have traveled the skies. Even more astounding about these planes isn’t their being the heaviest, biggest and weirdest build. Rather, it’s something more than these outstanding physical features. It is their history!
- Tupolev Tu-160
This supersonic variable-sweep wing giant is the largest combat airplane ever built. The Tupolev Tu-160 heavy strategic bomber was designed by the Soviet Union’s Tupolev Design Bureau.
Even more interesting about this combat aircraft is that it’s the last strategic bomber ever to be designed for the Soviet Union. It first flew the sky in 1987 and was the last of its class. Today this swing-wing fulfills a role similar to the US’s B-1 Lancer.
The Russian Federation continues to use this bomber to carry out attacks today. Specifically, the plane has been used to carry through attacks on the ISIS targets of Syria.
Only one XC-99 aircraft was ever built. Constructed for the United States Air Force by Convair, this prototype heavy cargo plane was the largest piston engine land-based transport aircraft ever manufactured.
It was developed from the Convair B-36 bomber. As such, it shared with it the wings and a few other structures.
The XC-99 first hit the skies on the 24th of November, 1947- San Diego, California, USA. It was then delivered to the US Air Force after testing on 26th May 1949.
There was a Convair Model 37- a variant of the XC-99 that was intended to be a civil passenger. Though for some reason, it was never built.
This mammoth plane was spectacular, with six powerful engines in its pusher configuration. These gave it massive power and was popular for heavy lifting. Even though it was just a single prototype, it served its purpose well. Throughout the Korean War, this gigantic aircraft hauled hefty loads of cargo and earned popularity for it.
Today the airframe resides in Tucson, Arizona. Plans are underway to restore the plane for museum display.
- Antonov An-225 Mriya
The An-225 is hands down the heaviest and longest aircraft ever built.
It has an overall length of 84 meters and boasts of a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of a whopping 640 tons. The An-225 Mriya’s original design was the handiwork of the Antonov Design Bureau. This prototype was initially intended to transport the Buran spaceplane.
The Buran program eventually came to an end, and the Antonov An-225 Mriya became a commercial cargo aircraft. It set a record in 2009 when it was used to airlift the heaviest single item in the history of air freight. This item was an Armenian gas power plant generator weighing in at 189 tons.
Today, it is a commercial cargo airplane and still holds the record as the biggest plane ever built.