Microsoft’s flight simulator brings the world’s largest aircraft back into the skies virtually

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — One year after the destruction of the Antonov An-255 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world’s largest commercial airliner is flying again, with Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Indeed, many historical aircraft have been returned to their virtual skies, but this one is somewhat special.

This massive, six-engine vehicle was built in the 1980s to carry the Soviet space shuttle. It was the only one of its kind ever completed.

Dubbed Mriya, meaning “dream” in the Ukrainian dialect, the plane is the world’s largest cargo carrier, with twice the capacity of a huge Boeing 747.

It had a wingspan of 290 feet and a maximum payload of 250 tons.

It is still reported to be the heaviest aircraft ever built.

Russian forces destroyed the Mriya in February 2022.
Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

An Antonov An-225 was destroyed at its base in Hostomel, near Kiev, in February 2022.

However, in November last year, its manufacturers confirmed that the rebuilding project had already begun. Antonov has estimated that it will need more than 500 million euros, or $532 million, to get back in the air.

“The process of rebuilding Mriya is seen as an international project involving airlines from around the world,” Antonov told CNN at the time.

And she continued, “The possibility of attracting funding from various sources is being explored, and proposals submitted by many organizations willing to join the project are being reviewed.”

The Microsoft Flight Simulator version of the Antonov AN-225 Mriya comes in six designs, including classic Antonov Airlines and Xbox Aviators Club.

The add-on is now available in the Microsoft Flight Simulator Marketplace on PC for $19.99 and will be available for Xbox Series X | S and on Xbox Cloud Gaming starting in late March.

The beloved flight simulator celebrated its 40th anniversary in November 2022, after going through a major reboot in 2020, returning with hyper-realistic views digitally extracted from satellite imagery.

Pilots can explore the world through the game, fly over 1.5 billion facilities, two million cities, and stop at more than 37,000 airports.

The application displays the weather directly, wind speed, direction, temperature, lighting, humidity, and rain.

The An-225 is powered by six turbofan engines, as shown in the photo above.
Credit: From XBox

Mriya fans can also support the rebuilding effort by building their own models. Ukrainian startup Metal Time is selling the mechanical design kit for the AN-225 for $99.

Profits go directly to Antonov to fund its rebuilding, as well as the re-housing of company employees whose homes were destroyed by the Russian invasion, and the training of new Ukrainian pilots and flight engineers.

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