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Watch This Soviet-Era Behemoth Take Off

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In this installment of crazy aviation videos, we bring you a sight to behold: a takeoff of the world’s largest aircraft. The Antonov An-225 is a Soviet-era strategic airlift cargo aircraft built in 1988. Designed to transport the USSR’s Energia rocket booster, it currently holds the world record for delivering the heaviest payload ever — a staggering 559,580 lbs. This aircraft is extremely rare, as there was only one example ever built, making this takeoff even more incredible.

The clip starts with see the six-engine behemoth beginning its takeoff roll at an incredibly sluggish pace. As the An-225 lumbers down the runway, it finally gains enough speed to gradually lift its front landing gear. The 28 wheels that make up the aircraft’s rear landing gear remain on the runway for almost another 10 seconds until the aircraft actually leaves the ground. As it sails into the night sky it’s hard to avoid thinking “how does that thing even fly anyways?”

Have you ever seen the Antonov An-225 in person?

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