By far the easiest-to-spot aircraft this year at Oshkosh was this Cathay Pacific Boeing 747 freighter, likely one of the last 747′s to come off the line after many years in production. It absolutely dwarfed the vintage DC-3 tucked under a wing
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.
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
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.