Not counting the plane what is the largest or heaviest payload ever flown?

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    $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 5:15
  • $\begingroup$ [Scaled Composites Stratolaunch can lift 250 t and it is a flying aircraft. It, however, has not been tested to this capacity yet. $\endgroup$
    – h22
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 6:51

1 Answer 1


enter image description here Source: Popular Mechanics

The Antonov-225 currently holds a number of records...

  • Heaviest maximum take-off weight at 710 tons (1.4 million pounds)
  • Total air lifted payload of 558,590 pounds
  • Single item payload of 418,830 pounds
  • Longest wingspan of 290 feet for any aircraft in service (Stratolaunch and H-4 Hercules had larger wingspans, but neither are currently in service)

The A380 by comparison has a maximum take-off weight of around 1.2 million pounds (600 tons) and is 260 feet wide.

For helicopters, the heaviest payload holder currently goes to the Mil Mi-26

enter image description here Source: Wikimedia

It has the world record for a payload lifted to 2000 meters (about 6500 feet) of 125,153 pounds (about 62 tons).

As for the "largest" I'm not sure you can separate that. The Antonov 225 holds the largest single item payload referenced above, so that is held by weight. If you are asking about physical size, that could mean a number of things. Longest, widest, tallest, etc.

The Airbus Beluga held the world record for the most "voluminous" cargo ever lifted when it transported a chemical tank for a marine vessel.

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    $\begingroup$ You’re missing the space shuttle carrier. Probably more voluminous than the beluga’s cargo $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Antzi It may be close, by volume the shuttle may be a little bigger, but it is hard to calculate due to its irregular shape. It could also be argued that the Antonov 225 also holds that record, but you'd have to compare the volume of the STS to the Buran. The STS is heavier, but the two shuttles are very similar in size. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratolaunch_Systems has a longer wingspan $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Muze True, it was only recently that it flew, and it may never fly again since the company is now defunct and looking for buyers for its assets. The Stratolaunch was a very specialized vehicle and will probably be scrapped for parts. The H-4 Hercules also had a wider wingspan, but never really "flew". $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer thanks. upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/52/… $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 19:27

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