Since the beginnings of aviation, there have been many aircraft that have gone down in history, be it for their size, capabilities or broken records. We present the most outstanding ones.
AN-225. The largest and heaviest airplane in the world
Developed in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the AN-225 Mriya aircraft is the heaviest and largest ever built in service. It is surprising that a plane that is 84 meters long and 175 tonnes of curb weight can easily rise above our heads. This aircraft, equipped with six jet engines, is capable of carrying up to 250 tons. In 2009, it transported what is, to date, the heaviest load that its warehouse has housed to date. An electric generator of 189,980 kilos.
The An225 It was built to transport material belonging to the Soviet space program, including the space shuttle Burán. In fact, it was planned to build several units of the same aircraft, but eventually the series was limited to only two units, one of which is still active today (the second unit never flew) operating cargo flights on demand for the Antonov Airlines. The failure of the project can be attributed both to the fall of the Soviet Union and to the fact that both its construction and the flight time have a high cost.
As a curiosity, a much smaller version of this plane, the Antonov-124, was used in 2020 to transport masks and medical supplies from China to Paris.
Boeing 747-8i: The one with the highest passenger capacity
Currently, this aircraft built by the Boeing company is one of the ones with the highest passenger transport capacity with a total of 342 seats – only surpassed by 555 for the Airbus A380 – and a maximum speed of 1,060 km / h. Although surpassed in passenger capacity by the Airbus “superjumbo”, Boeing claims that its aircraft is 10% lighter and with 11% less fuel consumption than its competition.
With a range of up to 15,000 kilometers, the B747-8I enables long-haul trade routes. Passengers can enjoy 92 seats in business class, 8 in first class and 242 seats in economy class. Do you want to know the difference between business class and first class? Click here.
Currently, both Boeing and Airbus have abandoned the manufacture of these two giants, so that the era of the “jumbos” seems to have come to an end.
Concorde. first passenger plane to fly at Mach 2
The Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was the first supersonic passenger transport aircraft to enter service, from 1976 to 2003. It was built from the joint works of the British Aircraft Corporation (British) and Aérospatiale (French).
In 1969 it made its first flight, but it did not enter service until 1976, accumulating from that date 27 years of flights until its exit from circulation in 2003. The Concorde reached a cruising speed of Mach 2.02 (2,179 km / h) with a flight ceiling of 18,300 meters, which allowed him to make the London-New York journey in just over three hours.
A total of 20 units were built, six of them prototype and test. Seven were delivered to Air France and another seven to British Airways.
The Concorde had a sad end. On July 25, 2000, Air France Flight 4590 suffered a tragic accident in which all the occupants and four people on the ground died. This accident, the first that this model of aircraft suffered, together with its high operating cost and low performance, a decree that in November 2003 was permanently withdrawn from service. The various surviving units can today be admired in various aeronautical museums in France, the UK and the USA.
Currently, the Boom Technology company has designed the Boom XB-1 a supersonic and sustainable aircraft, powered by alternative fuels. Its first flight is expected to be in 2021.
The aircraft with the longest range is the A350 XWB Ultra Long Range
This aircraft, manufactured by Airbus and powered by Rolls-Royce engines, has a range of 18,000 kilometers, that is, 20 hours of flight time, and far exceeds the range of other aircraft in its category. This model is currently operated by Singapur Airlines and will be used to cover the longest commercial route to date, between Singapore and New York, with a total of 19 flight hours. This version can expand the fuel capacity by 24,000 liters, which allows it to increase its range by 2,960 kilometers.
Fast and high. This is how the Lockheed SR-71 flies
Despite the fact that this aircraft has been out of service for years, since its first flight in 1964 it has been number one in terms of the highest and fastest flight in the world.
The Lockheed SR-71 aircraft was created in the United States with an acquisition cost of 200 million dollars, and with the aim of not being captured by any airborne radar and not being hit by any missile, after its older brother the U-2 was shot down by the Soviet army in May 1960, in one of the most important episodes of the Cold War.
Such was the deployment of resources of all kinds to make this plane fly, that the event of its takeoff was comparable to the launch of a rocket. Its crew wore space suits to withstand the tremendous conditions in the cabin. It reached speeds of up to 3,218 km / h, a record it achieved in 1976.
Crí-Cri, the aviation dwarf
Colomban MC-15 Cri-Cri, also called Cricket is the smallest twin-engine aircraft ever built. With capacity for a single passenger, who is also the pilot, it was designed in 1970 by the French aeronautical engineer Michel Colomban.
With only 70 kg when empty (170 fully loaded), and a wingspan of just 5 meters, the Cri-Cri is powered by two 15 HP combustion engines each.
Despite its small size, this plane is aerobatic, supporting more than 9 G and being able to perform, for example, a roll in one second. There is a version of this turbine plane that reaches 240 km / h.