The Antonov AN-225, operated by Ukraine based Antonov Airlines, is the largest
cargo aircraft that is currently in operation. The basic aircraft is based
on the AN-124 strategic airlifter. The AN-124 design had fuselage extensions,
wing extensions, and additional engines. The AN-225 first flew in late 1988.
It was displayed at the Paris Air Show in 1989, then toured extensively in
1990, including visits to several airshows in the United States.
The photo above is the AN-225 sitting on the ramp at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul
International Airport. The view is from the end of the parking area in the
old air cargo area.
The AN-225 was allowed to fall into disrepair and was scavenged for parts
after the breakup of the Soviet Union. It was put back into service in
2001. Since that time, it has visited the United States on several occasions,
but it is still rare to see it sitting on the ground for any length of time.
In this case, it was in the Twin Cities to pick up several very large
air conditioning units built by Trane in La Crosse, Wisconsin. There were
to be delivered to the middle east after a fuel stop in France.
The photo above is a view of the AN-225 in the same location as above,
but viewed from the Sun Country Airlines parking lot. Parking lots at the
airport in areas that have access to secured areas are generally tightly
controlled. However, in this case, the security guards at Sun Country
were allowing people to park and walk up to the fence in order to see
the giant airlifter that was attracting so much attention.
The photo below is long telephoto view from the top of the parking ramp
at the Mall Of America.