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The Ukrainian Antonov An-124 Ruslan (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-124 “Руслан”), the worst’s biggest military cargo aircraft, and until the arrival of the Boeing 747-8F, the world’s heaviest mass-produced aircraft. 

Produced from 1982 until 2014, as the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia forced the stop of the production line. 

General characteristics

Crew: 4–6 (pilot, copilot, navigator, senior flight engineer (+flight engineer, radio man) + 2 loadmasters)
Capacity: 88 passengers or the hold can take an additional 350 on a palletised seating system
Payload: 150,000 kg (330,000 lb)
Length: 68.96 m (226 ft 3 in)
Wingspan: 73.3 m (240 ft 5 in)
Height: 20.78 m (68 ft 2 in)
Wing area: 628 m² (6,760 sq ft)
Empty weight: 175,000 kg (385,000 lb)
Loaded weight: 405,000 kg (893,000 lb)
Useful load: 230,000 kg (508,000 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 405,000 kg (893,000 lb)
Powerplant: 4 × Progress D-18T turbofans, 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) each

Performance

Maximum speed: 865 km/h (467 kn (537 mph))
Cruise speed: 800–850 km/h (430 kn (490 mph))
Range: 5,200 km (2,808 nm, 3231 mi)
Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,370 ft)
Wing loading: 365 kg/m² (74.7 lb/sq ft)
Thrust/weight: 0.23
Take-off run distance (maximum take-off weight): 2,520 m (8,270 ft)
Landing roll distance at maximum landing weight: 900 m (3,000 ft)

What airplane is now the largest commercial plane, the new Boeing 747-8 or the Airbus A380?

Going by the numbers, while the new Boeing 747-8 is slightly longer than the Airbus A380-800, at 76.25 meters compared to the A380-800’s length of 73 meters, the A380-800 is still taller, has a larger wingspan and has a higher maximum take off weight.

However … neither the Boeing 747-8 nor Airbus A380-800 are the largest commercial aircraft presently flying through the skies.  The largest commercial aircraft in operation is in fact the massive Antonov AN-225 Mriya.

The AN-225, which entered service in December 1988, is very distinctive with six engines, three per wing and two tails. The AN-225s fuselage length is a mind blowing 84 meters, its wing span is 88.4 meters, its cargo capacity can swallow up a massive 46,000 cubic feet of cargo and its maximum take off weight is an unbelievable 1,323,000 pounds!

By comparison, the Boeing 747-8F can hold 30,177 cubic feet of cargo with a maximum take off weight of 975,000 pounds. The Airbus A380-800F can hold 40,000 cubic feet of cargo with a maximum take off weight of 1,200,000 pounds.

It should be noted that Airbus has not produced a cargo version of the Airbus A380 at this time and has no cargo customers on the books for an A380-800F. The current Boeing 747-8 aircraft undergoing tests for certification are all cargo aircraft, the 747-8F. There is presently only a single AN-225 in service and it is cargo only.  These three aircraft however are the three largest commercial aircraft currently flying and the design of the AN-225 makes it uniquely capable of loading massive items in a way the Airbus A380F would not be able to, should Airbus source cargo variant customers.

Above is a compassion graphic of the 747-400, A380-800 and AN-225 that was supplied to me by Antonov a while back.