Top 10 Biggest Airplanes Ever Built

Last updated on Mar 20, 2024

Posted on Mar 20, 2024

Have you ever looked up at a jet soaring through the clouds and thought, "Wow, that thing is massive!"? Well, get ready to have your mind blown because we're about to explore the behemoths of the skies, the airplanes that dwarf anything you've ever seen before. From colossal cargo haulers to double-decker passenger giants, this list will take you on a journey through the history of aviation's biggest and boldest.

Fasten your seatbelts, aviation enthusiasts, because we're about to take off on a flight through the top 10 biggest airplanes ever to grace the skies!

1. Antonov An-225 Mriya

The undisputed champion, the Mriya ("Dream" in Ukrainian) holds the title for the largest wingspan and maximum takeoff weight ever recorded for an airplane. This unique, six-engine behemoth was built for the Soviet space program and sadly, only one was ever constructed and then destroyed.

"ADB/ Antonov Design Bureau An-225 UR-82060" by Riik@mctr

2. Scaled Composites Stratolaunch

This colossal aircraft isn't your typical airplane. Nicknamed the "Roc," it's designed to carry rockets to high altitudes for launch, essentially acting as a giant, airborne launchpad. With a wingspan wider than a football field, it's a true marvel of engineering.

"Stratolaunch aircraft by Stratolaunch Systems Corp., Mojave Air and Space Port." by aeroman3

3. Airbus A380

The Airbus A380 is the undisputed king of passenger airplanes. This double-decker behemoth boasts the most passenger capacity of any airliner ever built, offering enough space for over 800 passengers in a theoretical configuration.

"A380 & Red Arrows - RIAT 2013 - Explored :-)" by Airwolfhound

4. Caspian Sea Monster

This mysterious contender, also known as the Ekranoplan, was a Soviet ground-effect vehicle designed to skim the surface of the water at high speeds. While technically not a true airplane, its massive size and unique design earn it a spot on this list.

5. Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

A military workhorse, the C-5 Galaxy is a massive American cargo aircraft capable of hauling an incredible amount of freight. Nicknamed "The "Iron Horse of the Skies," this behemoth is a crucial part of the U.S. Air Force's logistical backbone.

"Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin) C-5 'Galaxy'" by aeroman3

6. Antonov An-124:

Nicknamed "Condór" by NATO, this Soviet-designed cargo aircraft is another giant of the skies. While not quite as large as the An-225, it boasts impressive payload capacity and remains a vital part of Russia's strategic airlift capabilities.

"Antonov An-124 en Vigo" by Contando Estrelas

7. Boeing 747

The "Queen of the Skies" needs no introduction. This iconic jumbo jet revolutionized long-haul travel and dominated the skies for decades. While it's been surpassed by the A380 in terms of passenger capacity, the 747 remains a popular choice for airlines around the world.

8. Boeing Dreamlifter

This specially modified 747 variant isn't designed for passengers; it's designed to carry parts for other Boeing airplanes! With a distinctive bulbous fuselage, the Dreamlifter is a fascinating example of modified aircraft for specialized purposes.

"Boeing 747-400LCF Dreamlifter"

9. Antonov An-22

An earlier sibling to the An-225, the An-22 "Cock" was a powerful turboprop cargo aircraft developed by the Soviet Union. While retired from service, it still holds the record for the world's largest turboprop.

"Russian Air Force, RF-09309, Antonov An-22 Antei" by Anna Zvereva

10. North American XB-70 Valkyrie

This experimental American bomber never entered full production, but its sheer size and futuristic design leave a lasting impression. Nicknamed "The Valkyrie" after mythical Norse maidens, this Cold War relic is a testament to the audacity of aviation design.

"North American XB-70 Valkyrie" by amphalon

Final Thoughts

From colossal cargo haulers to luxurious passenger giants, these incredible airplanes push the boundaries of what's possible in the world of aviation. As technology continues to evolve, who knows what incredible flying machines the future holds? One thing's for sure, the quest to build bigger, better, and more efficient airplanes is far from over.

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