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19th of May 1934

Updated: May 19, 2021

87 years ago the first flight took place of the ANT-20. An 8 engined aircraft designed to carry 80 passengers, but eventually only used as propaganda aircraft.

Designed by Andrei Tupolev a total of 2 aircraft were build in 1933 and 1934. And named in tribute after the writer Maxim Gorky. With its 63 meter wingspan (only 1 meter less than the Boeing 747) it was the largest aircraft of its time and retained the title of aircraft with the biggest wingspan for 8 years. Powered by eight Mikulin AM-34FRN V12 liquid-cooled engines of 900 hp each it could climb up to 14.800 ft, it had a range of 650 miles and a maximum speed of 120 knots. 7 of its engines were configured with puller propellors (3 in each wing and 1 one on a cradle on top of the fuselage) The engine on top of the fuselage was installed in tandem with the eighth engine which was instaled in a pusher configuration.

For the time in aviation, it had an impressive MTOW of nearly 117,000 lbs (53.000 kg) The aircraft and its wings were so big that they had sleeping accommodation in the wings, as well as observation posts for the engines in each wing!

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