The Antonov An-124 Ruslan (NATO reporting name: Condor) is the largest
aircraft ever mass produced, and was, until the advent of the Antonov An-225,
the largest aircraft in production. It flew for the first time in 1982. Over
forty are currently in service in Russia and Ukraine.
Physically, the An-124 is similar to the American Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, but
is larger in many dimensions. An-124s have been used to carry locomotives,
yachts, aircraft fuselages, and a variety of other oversized cargoes. Up to
150 tonnes of cargo can be carried in a military An-124: it can also carry
88 passengers in an upper deck behind the cockpit.
Germany intends to lease An-124s for NATO strategic airlift requirements as
a stopgap until the Airbus A400M is available. Boeing also has used the Russian
cargo company Volga-Dnepr to ship oversize aircraft components to their Everett
plant with their An-124 fleet. Specifically, the An-124 is the only means of
airlifting the General Electric GE90 turbofan engines used in the Boeing 777
As of 2004, there have been four major crashes of An-124s with a total
of 50 fatalities.
An An-124 was used to transport the Obelisk of Axum back to its native
homeland of Ethiopia in April, 2005. The shipment was done in three trips,
each carrying a third of the monument's 160 tons and 24-meter (78 ft) length.
Modifications were done to the airstrip at Axum in order to accommodate such a
A Ukrainian An-124 was featured in the James Bond film Die Another Day, although
the interior shots appear to be of an Ilyushin Il-76.
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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Antonov An-124".