The Antonov An-124 Vs An-225: What Are The Differences?

Following the news that Ukrainian manufacturer Antonov is working on a new large cargo plane, we thought it…

The Antonov An-124 Vs An-225: What Are The Differences?

Following the news that Ukrainian manufacturer Antonov is working on a new large cargo plane, we thought it apt to compare two of its largest existing aircraft. The An-124 ‘Ruslan’ and the An-225 ‘Mriya’ attract fascination from avgeeks wherever they go, with their sheer size turning many an eye. Let’s examine some of the differences between them.

The An-225 holds the record for being the heaviest aircraft ever built. Photo: Getty Images

Size matters

Both the An-124 and the An-225 are inarguably colossal aircraft. Indeed, the latter of these designs is known, among other things, for having the largest wingspan of any aircraft presently in active operational service. This measures an impressive 88.4 meters wide, and allows the aircraft to sport six Progress D-18T engines. The An-124 has just four.

While the An-124 still outranks most present commercial aircraft by wingspan, it is a full 15 meters narrower than its aforementioned counterpart. Overall, it boasts a wingspan of 73.3 meters. This gives a significant difference in wing area. The An-124’s wings cover 628 square meters, while the An-225’s are spread over a whopping 905 square meters.

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Antonov An-124 Getty
The An-124 is larger than many aircraft, but not the An-225. Photo: Getty Images

Similarly, at 69.1 meters in length, the An-124 is longer than many airliners, but still dwarfed by the An-225, which clocks in at 84 meters long. Interestingly, the smaller An-124 does have the edge when it comes to height. It measures a sizeable 21 meters tall, whereas the larger An-225 clocks in at 18.1 meters. For comparison, the Airbus A380 is 24.09 meters tall.

Performance

Both aircraft are designed to carry exceptionally large and heavy cargo payloads, but how do their performance specifications compare? The An-225 has a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 640 tonnes, making it the world’s heaviest aircraft, as we have established. This comfortably outranks the An-124’s (already impressive) figures of 402 tonnes.

As far as the ranges of these aircraft are concerned, they depend on the aircraft’s payload. The An-225 can fly for up to 15,400 km (8,300 NM) with maximum fuel and a minimum payload, but this drops to just 4,000 km (2,160 NM) with 200 tonnes of cargo onboard.

An-225
The An-225’s MTOW is almost 60% higher than that of the An-124. Photo: Getty Images

Similarly, the An-124’s lightly-loaded ferry flights can be up to 14,000 km (7,600 NM) long. However, once again, this drops as low as 3,700 km (2,000 NM) with a maximum payload. Although its range is shorter, the An-124 is faster. It cruises between 800 and 850 km/h (430-460 knots), while the An-225 can only match the lower end of this spectrum.

Production history

One of the most significant differences between the aircraft that we are yet to cover is their production histories. Along with its size, one of the reasons that the An-225 draws such strong attention from both avgeeks and the general public is the fact that Antonov only built one example of this design. This rarity certainly increases its appeal for some.

Antonov did partially build a second An-225, which is believed to be as much as 70% complete. However, it seems unlikely that this will ever take to the skies, with the company’s CEO deeming such an idea as ‘economically unviable’ last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Antonov An-124
Antonov produced 55 An-124s between 1982 and 2004. Photo: Riik@mctr via Flickr

On the other hand, the An-124 has become a more widely produced large cargo aircraft. Its production cycle spanned from 1982 to 2004, with Antonov making 55 examples of the plane during this 20-year spell. As such, it is a more common sight in the world’s skies, with its recent operations having seen it transport a variety of cargo all over the globe.

The type has had several trips to India this year, flying medical products, oxygen, and even a 54-tonne generator to the country. Elsewhere, it has taken five Black Hawk helicopters from Poland to the Philippines, parts of an Embraer Phenom 300 business jet to the US, and mining equipment to Brazil. On the whole, a tremendously versatile aircraft!

Do you prefer the An-124 or the An-225? Have you ever seen either, or even both, of them on your travels? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments,

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Alaska Regional Carrier Ravn Alaska Signs For 50 eSTOL Aircraft

Regional outfit Ravn Alaska has a strong heritage in Alaskan operations that traces all the way back to…

Alaska Regional Carrier Ravn Alaska Signs For 50 eSTOL Aircraft

Regional outfit Ravn Alaska has a strong heritage in Alaskan operations that traces all the way back to 1948. With a history that has lasted for over 70 years, the carrier has managed to adapt over the decades. The latest shift is its signing of a deal for 50 carbon-neutral eSTOL aircraft with Airflow.

The aircraft will help Ravn Alaska maintain services well in icy conditions and poor weather. Photo: Airflow

Remote regions and tough conditions

Short takeoff and landing (STOL) planes are developed to help serve flights that rely on short runways. Moreover, several of these are equipped for deployment on runways with sensitive conditions. For example, they can be seen at airports at high altitudes and fields with icy environments. Overall, flights operating to these areas can run far more efficiently with STOLs.

Therefore, airlines serving across Alaska are no stranger to taking on STOL models. With several remote communities living in habitats with tough conditions, the right equipment is needed to keep them connected.

Ravn Alaska specializes in serving small communities in the state. The Anchorage-headquartered airline has hubs at Fairbanks International, Unalakleet Airport, Tom Madsen Airport, and Cold Bay Airport. It uses its 10 Dash 8s to serve 100 destinations around The Last Frontier. Now, after bouncing back from its 2020 bankruptcy filing, it is eager to bring its fleet to a new generation with eSTOL aircraft.

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Next-gen solutions

The carrier has consulted Airflow for a modern offering. This company has been working on electric planes that don’t need new infrastructure and fit within existing regulatory frameworks. The aircraft are being designed with numerous types of electric propulsion in mind, such as battery-electric, hybrid-electric, and hydrogen-electric processes. Interestingly, future units will hold the autonomous systems to further advance on safety and cost-efficiency.

Airflow
Airflow shares that there would be 70% lower operating costs than helicopters or eVTOLs and 30% lower operating costs than traditional planes with its aircraft. Photo: Airflow

The business was formed by five former Airbus Vahana team members just two years ago. The Vahana project was an electric-powered VTOL prototype. Therefore, the firm is well familiar with these types of vehicles.

Airflow CEO and co-founder Marc Ausman said the following about the aircraft in a statement:

“From logistics carriers to passenger airlines we hear loud and clear that demand is on the rise. At Airflow, we’re partnering with companies that seek to add new aircraft with new capabilities to their fleets that are flexible, cost-effective, and carbon-neutral. The Airflow team has designed, built, and flown new aircraft on rapid timescales together before, and now we’re applying those learnings to an aircraft that will improve operating economics for airlines and contribute positively to reducing aviation’s carbon impact.”

Airflow is primarily working on two types – the Model 100 and Model 200. The 100 can serve four passengers and at least 800 lbs (363 kg) of cargo. It has a takeoff and land distance of 150 ft (46 m) and a range of 250 mi (402 km) plus reserves. Meanwhile, the 200 can hold up to nine passengers and 2,000 lbs (907 kg) of cargo. its takeoff and land distance is 250 ft (76 m), while its range is 500 mi (805 km) plus reserves.

Airflow Concept
Airflow is looking to use a pilot assistance system called Virtual Tailhook to enable precise, safe, and repeatable landings on short runways. Photo: Airflow

The company’s aircraft are expected to be introduced from 2025. Impressively, orders now rack up to over $200 million worth of planes.

The right fit

So, the specifications make for a great match for Ravn Alaska. The airline’s CEO, Rob McKinney, added the following about the deal:

“As a regional operator, we are committed to serving the many large and small communities of Alaska. That means we are constantly seeking out new ways to deliver the best value and experience for Alaskans. With Airflow, we benefit from the new capabilities the aircraft offers that open up new and different destinations, the constantly improving efficiencies of electrification, and alignment between our fleet and the rising demands of our customers to travel with the smallest carbon footprint possible.”

Altogether, Raven Alaska will be looking forward to deploying these innovative units for their ease of transport while reducing operating costs and noise. The carrier is also keen to expand its route network with the aircraft this decade.

Notably, these sorts of regional operations are a perfect fit for the incoming wave of electric aircraft due to their short-term capabilities. The technology involved is yet to mature to allow for long-range, high-capacity electric travel. However, it can open up several opportunities on shorter distances.

What are your thoughts about this deal between Airflow and Ravn for 50 eSTOL aircraft? What do you make of the overall agreement? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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