Extreme machines : Top 5 most extraordinary aircraft ever built

1 – The Antonov AN-225 “Mriya” – The Dream

Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first powered flight in 1903, with plane which measured some 21ft (6m).

80 years later and Soviet aircraft designers devised an aircraft – the Antonov An-225 Mriya – which measures nearly 280ft (84m) and has a wingspan of nearly 300ft.

It’s longer, in fact, than the Wright Flyer’s first flight.

Antonov AN-225 “Mriya”


 2 – The Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose”

Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose”

The Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the “Spruce Goose”; registration NX37602) is a prototype heavy transport aircraft designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1947.

Built from wood because of wartime restrictions on the use of aluminum and concerns about weight, its critics nicknamed it the “Spruce Goose”, despite it being made almost entirely of birch rather than spruce.

The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history.  It is on display, and remains in good condition at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, USA.


 3 -The MIL V12 Helicopter “Homer”


The Mil V-12 (Nato reporting name Homer), given the project number Izdeliye 65, remains the largest helicopter ever built.

Construction of the V-12 first prototype, after exhaustive testing with test-rigs and mock-ups including a complete transmission system, began at Panki in 1965. The airframe was largely conventional, using stressed skin construction methods with high strength parts machined from solid. The large fuselage accommodated the 28.15×4.4×4.4 m (92.4×14.4×14.4 ft) cabin and crew section in the extreme nose, housing pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and electrical engineer in the lower cockpit, with the navigator and radio operator in the upper cockpit.

4. Tupolev Tu-144 “Charger”

TU 144

The Tupolev Tu-144 (NATO name: “Charger’“) was the first commercial supersonic transport aircraft (SST). It was one of only two SSTs to enter commercial service, the other being the Anglo-French Concorde. The design, publicly unveiled in January 1962, was constructed in the Soviet Union under the direction of Alexei Tupolev.

The prototype first flew on 31 December 1968 near Moscow, two months before the first flight of Concorde. The Tu-144 first went supersonic on 5 June 1969, and on 26 May 1970 became the first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2 (The Concorde flew under Mach 2).

Western propaganda always stated that the TU 144 was a copy of the Concorde…regardless to its performances which all surpass the Concorde…

TU 144


5 – The Lockheed SR 71 “Blackbird”

Developed in the 1960s as a strategic reconnaissance aircraft by Lockheed, the SR-71 remains one of the most incredible machines in aviation history.

During reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface to air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile.

Since 1976, it has held the world record for the fastet air-breathing manned aircraft.

SR 71 Blackbird


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