27 February 1965

Antonov An-22 Antheus CCCP-64459, the first prototype, at the Antonov flight test facility, Gostomel Airport, Kiev Oblast. (Oleg Belyakov)
Antonov An-22 Antheus CCCP-64459, the first prototype, at the Antonov flight test facility, Gostomel Airport, Kiev Oblast. (Oleg Belyakov)

27 February 1965: The first flight of the Antonov Design Bureau An-22 Antheus took place at Sviatoshyn Airfield, Kiev, Ukraine. The An-22 was the world’s largest airplane at the time, and it remains the world’s largest turboprop airplane.

The An-22 is 57.9 meters (190.0 feet) long with a wingspan of 64.40 meters (211.29 feet) and overall height of 12.53 meters (41.11 feet). The heavy-lift strategic transport has an empty weight of 114,000 kilograms (251,327 pounds) and maximum takeoff weight of 250,000 kilograms (551,156 pounds). It is powered by four Kuznetsov NK-12MA turboprop engines producing 15,000 horsepower, each, and which drive eight four-bladed, counter-rotating propellers.

The An-22 is operated by a flight crew of six and can carry 29 passengers, It’s payload capacity is 80,000 kilograms (176,370 pounds). It has a maximum speed of 740 kilometers per hour (460 miles per hour) and a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles) with a maximum payload.

Antonov produced 66 An-22 transports at the Tashkent Aircraft Production Corporation at Tashkent, Uzbekistan, between 1965 and 1976. 28 of these were the AN-22A variant. Several remain in service.

Antonov An-22 Antheus strategic heavy-lift turboprop transport. (Dmitry A. Mottl)
Antonov An-22 Antheus strategic heavy-lift turboprop transport. (Dmitry A. Mottl)

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

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2 thoughts on “27 February 1965

  1. Oh man I hate when this happens (lol). What defines, “the largest?” The XC-99 was operational for about 10 years, while being 7 ft shorter it was 21 ft wider and 16 ft taller, it weighed more empty, and could carry more loaded. Then there was the Hughes H4 (Spruce Goose) which was the 8 (PW4360’s) engine granddaddy of them all. And then there was the C-133, dimension wise definitely length and width smaller, but higher, it too weighed more and could carry more than the AN-22. This kind of stuff just melts my brain, and yet I enjoy making the comparisons. Which one do you think is the largest?
    You do a great job with TDIAH, love your work. Thanks, Ed

    1. Hi, Ed. You know, I think I was on autopilot and just wrote that because it was in the source material. But you are right. I believe other airplanes were “bigger.” Thanks for keeping me on the glide path. —Bryan

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