Tom Ruth amazed us all with his Antonov AN-124 model for FSX, and he just upped the ante a bit more. The Antonov AN-225 Mriya (means “dream”), is the largest fixed wing aircraft to ever be built. In fact only one was built and is still flying today, while a second airframe was started, but never finished. Originally designed as the main transporter for the Soviet Buran Shuttle, the Mriya currently hauls extremely large, heavy and oversize loads around the world for Antonov Airlines.
Flying this bird is like flying a large brick. You sit so high up and you look over such a large nose, that one can’t help but wonder if you stepped aboard the Star-ship Enterprise. The detailed virtual cockpit puts flight controls where they need to be, with that bit of strange Soviet feel. However, the Mriya doesn’t fly like a brick, but not exactly like a Cessna either, perhaps more like a heavy 747. Getting off the ground takes patience and a long runway. Once airborne, though, the behemoth is much more docile with responsive handling and decent climb rates. Those six engines and large wings really help move the shear size of this beast through the air. Overall, I was quite surprised at how well it flew.
Back on the ground, there is plenty of eye candy to please the gaming enthusiasts. The opening doors and animated cargo door, ramp and front gear are all wonderful surprises in freeware. Each of these functions are controlled by clickable buttons on the center panel. It is part of the experience to sit in the virtual cockpit, throw the cargo door switch and watch your view be consumed by the massive nose of the aircraft as it opens. One can see the detailed underside including support struts as it opens in front of the windshield. Then, throw the front gear switch and change views to outside to watch these behemoth squat. Then back to the virtual cockpit to throw the ramp switch, change to outside view to watch the ramp unfold. The experience of opening the cargo bay is worth the download alone. If you ever find yourself in need of counting something, try counting the tires on the main gear, that will keep you busy for awhile. There is even a second model available with a Soviet Buran Shuttle mounted on the back of this big guy. Talk about a “large” model. The exterior and interior model on Ruth’s latest FSX model is outstanding.
Overall, this is quite a surprise from a talented freeware modeler. Not only has Ruth recreated the largest aircraft in the skies, but he has done it to new standards and upped the ante for flight simulator experiences. I can’t wait to spend more time behind the yoke of this bird.
Author: Tom Ruth
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