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  • Writer's pictureMr Wings

5 aircraft designed to carry extremely heavy loads

There are times when certain items like aeroplane parts, train cars or machinery need to be transported by air, as it saves more time and is more convenient. However, regular cargo aircraft that are derived from passenger planes are either too small or are not able to handle such weights. Here are some unique aircraft with the sole purpose of carrying equally unique cargo!

Airbus Beluga/BelugaXL

The Airbus Beluga, aptly named after the enormous beluga whale, is a mammoth of an aircraft which is based on the Airbus A300-600. First flying in the mid-1990s, this aircraft contains a unique fuselage and tailplane compared to other aircraft in the Airbus catalogue. The aeroplane is solely used to transport aircraft parts from manufacturing plants such as Hamburg to the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse. A newer version of the plane, the BelugaXL, first flew in 2018 with the aircraft based on the Airbus A330-200.

Boeing Dreamlifter

The Boeing Dreamlifter follows a similar vein to the Airbus Beluga, as it too is used for transporting Boeing airplane parts across the USA. Dubbed the world's longest cargo aircraft, the Dreamlifter is a modified Boeing 747-400 that serves to mainly transport 787 Dreamliner components from around the world into the final assembly line in Everett, Washington State.

Antonov An-22

Antonov, once renowned for their military prowess back in the Soviet Union era, are now renowned for their cargo lifting prowess in the modern era. The An-22 is the only aircraft in this list to be powered by propellers rather than turbofans, but even then it is recognized as the largest turboprop aircraft in the world, which makes it a worthy inclusion among the cargo carriers.

Antonov An-225

Another Antonov aircraft arrives in this list, and an especially famous one given the turbulent ride and sad ending the aircraft went through. The aircraft was the largest in the world, initially designed to carry the Soviet space shuttle Buran, and until recently it was able to carry almost any cargo in the world. Unfortunately, the plane was destroyed in Ukraine following Russian attacks in their ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

The most produced aircraft on this list with 131 units built until 1989, the C-5 Galaxy is the United States' equivalent of the An-225, except it's a lot smaller. The C-5 is mainly used for transporting military equipment, as all units are in service with the Army and Air Force.

So there you have it, five unique planes which are all experts at carrying cargo! Even if some of these planes may not be flying anymore, they will still live on as the kings and queens of the cargo skies. Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

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