Category: Favourite aeroplane in 200 words

My favourite aeroplane in 200 words #38: Antonov An-225 ‘Mriya’

Antonov_An-225_front_viewCredit: Paul Smit

There is only one An-225. Not even enough to breed.

I recently watched an American documentary on the Antonov An-225 and was drowned in hyperbole relating to the aircraft’s size. It’s the biggest, but I don’t want to bore you by telling you how many blue whale tits would fit inside it or how many buses stacked up would equal it or any of that; it is the appearance of the machine that I love – SIX ENGINES, the best-looking tail of any aircraft since the P-61 and a comically multi-wheeled main gear all add up to make a very special aircraft.

As a brattish child prodigy once pointed out to Alan Partridge,’You can’t have gradations of uniqueness.’, something is either unique or isn’t, and the sole An-225 is indeed unique. There is an incomplete second An-225 in Kiev that Russia was eyeing up as a potential mothership for its next generation spaceplane. But considering the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, the An-225 – like other freakishly oversized birds before it-  may one day (in the next twenty years or so) become extinct.




Until that day I hated low-flying aircraft. Like many I saw them as a reminder of how daft the English are.

I was not the best-looking boy in my village (or even in my house as my dad kindly reminds me). I was a straggly half-hearted Mod.

Lowri  lived two streets down from me and was so good-looking I wasn’t sure if I had the right to speak to her.


When I did, it felt a little naughty, like drawing a knob on the Wailing Wall or making a lion wear a bobble-hat. How dare I waste her time? So it came as an unbelievably wonderful surprise when on the 30th June 1986, me and Lowri had sex.

Afterwards we had a post-coital beer and gazed down the hills that led to Dolgellau. As the first sip met my lips, a Jaguar gambolled through the valleys. It was as joyful as I was and surfed from side-to-side like a marble on a helter-skelter.

Since then, I love the Jaguar jet (so much so, that I even travelled to London in 2010, to see Fiona Banner’s show, which featured one offering its belly to be tickled).

Bryce Gillam is an illustrator who has yet to finish his website. His other failures include being a stand-up comedian without a booking agent.

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