Every now and again we see something truly amazing from the RC community. Something that truly excites us and we genuinely envy his or her creation. Hans Bühr built an amazing Antonov AN-255 with a shuttle that detaches in flight.
The Antonov An-225 Mriya ‘dream’ or ‘inspiration’, NATO reporting name: Cossack is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the heaviest aircraft ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes.
It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The single example built has the Ukrainian civil registration UR-82060. A second airframe with a slightly different configuration was partially built. Its construction was halted in 1994 because of a lack of funding and interest, but revived briefly in 2009, bringing it to 60–70% completion. On August 30, 2016, Antonov agreed to complete the second airframe for Aerospace Industry Corporation of China.
The Antonov An-225, initially developed for the task of transporting the Buran spaceplane, was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124. The first An-225 was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads. The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single item payload of 189,980 kilograms (418,830 pounds), and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg (559,580 lb). It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kg (545,000 lb) on a commercial flight.
Bühr’s model was designed from Russian magazine drawings and many photographs acquired from the vast reaches of the Internet. At that time, the electric impeller drive was still in its infancy and required extreme lightweight construction in order to achieve a satisfactory result. All parts of the model should be close to scale. At that time, the model of the AN-225 was the first electrically powered 6-motor impeller aircraft worldwide.
|Original Technical Specifications|
|Overall Length||350 cm|
|Take Off Weight||13 kg|
|Motors||6 x brushed motors @ 24V|
|Power Consumption||15A per motor|
|Batteries||54 2.4Amp/hr NiMH cells|
|Fan Unit||90 mm diameter custom built unit|
|Rotor||Handmade 5-blade rotor|
|Thrust||6 x 900g regulator|
|Nose wheel||Retractable Custom built|
|Main Gear||Retractable – 28 wheels|
A second An-225 was partially built during the late 1980s for the Soviet space program. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the cancellation of the Buran space program, the lone operational An-225 was placed in storage in 1994. The six Ivchenko-Progress engines were removed for use on An-124s, and the second uncompleted An-225 airframe was also stored. When it became clear that a cargo liner bigger than the An-124 was needed, the first An-225 was re-engine and put back into service.
By 2000, the need for additional An-225 capacity had become apparent, so the decision was made in September 2006 to complete the second An-225. The second airframe was scheduled for completion around 2008, then delayed. By August 2009, the aircraft had not been completed and work had been abandoned. In May 2011, the Antonov CEO is reported to have said that the completion of a second An-225 Mriya transport aircraft with a carrying capacity of 250 tons requires at least $300 million, but if the financing is provided, its completion could be achieved in three years.
In August 2016, representatives from Ukraine’s Antonov and Airspace Industry Corporation of China (AICC), an import-export company operating out of Hong Kong, signed an agreement to recommence production of the An-225, with China now planning to procure and fly the first model by 2019. The aviation media cast doubt on the production restart, indicating that due to ongoing Russia–Ukraine conflict needed parts from Russia are unavailable, although they may be made in China instead.
I personally cannot wait to see the 2nd An225 take to the skies. What an amazing aircraft it is.