Antonov An-225 Mirya

Antonov An-225

The largest plane in the world, only one of these massive cargo jets was ever built. Its first flight was in December 1988, and it remains in service today.

Scaled Composites Model 351 Stratolaunch

FILE PHOTO: The world's largest airplane, built by the late Paul Allen's company Stratolaunch Systems, makes its first test flight in Mojave, California, U.S. April 13, 2019.  REUTERS/Gene Blevins/File Photo

The Stratolaunch is an unusual looking plane, with six engines, a twin-fuselage, and the longest wingspan of any plane in history at 385 feet.

The Stratolaunch first flew in April, 2019, and will act as a flying launch platform for rockets heading to orbit.

Airbus A330-743L "Beluga XL"

Airbus Beluga XL

The A330-743L, or as it's affectionately known, the "Beluga XL," is based off of Airbus' A330-200 airliner, but heavily modified to carry oversized cargo like parts for smaller aircraft. It first flew in July 2018, and is expected to enter regular service by 2020.

Airbus A300-600ST Beluga

Airbus A300-600ST Beluga

The Airbus A300-600ST (Super Transporter), or "Beluga" is the predecessor to the Beluga XL, which is intended to replace the aging originals. It first flew in September, 1994, and all five of the jets that were built remain in service today. It's very slightly shorter and narrower than the Beluga XL, and can't carry as heavy of a payload.

Airbus A380-800

Emirates Airbus A380

The Airbus A380, Airbus' modern response to Boeing's famed 747, is the largest passenger plane ever built. Depending on the seat layout, the plane can carry as many as about 850 passengers, but the typical is closer to around 575.

The plane entered commercial service in 2007, representing Airbus' gamble that a "hub-and-spoke" model would be the future of commercial air travel.

However, as airlines have moved more towards offering more frequent direct point-to-point flights with smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft Airbus has announced that A380 production will end by 2021.

Boeing 747-8

Korean Air Boeing 747-8

The 747-8 is the latest and largest variant of Boeing's beloved 747. The -8 first flew in 2010, entering cargo service in 2011 and passenger service in 2012. It can carry up to 467 passengers in a three-class configuration, and has a range of more than 8,000 nautical miles.

Antonov An-124

Antonov An-124
abdul hafiz ab hamid/Shutterstock

The Antonov An-124 is typically used for cargo and military airlifts. It first flew in 1982, and is among the largest military aircraft ever.

Antonov An-22

Antonov An-22

The An-22, which first flew in 1965, remains the largest turbo-prop powered plane ever built. A civilian cargo and military transport aircraft, only a few planes remain in service, mostly with the Russian Air Force.

Airbus A340-600

Airbus A340-600 South African Airways
Vytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock

The -600 variant of the venerable A340 was the longest commercial aircraft until 2010, when the Boeing 747-8 took that title — it's slightly longer than even the Airbus A380. It first flew in 2001, and can carry 379 passengers in a typical three-class layout. 

Boeing 747 "Dreamlifter"

Boeing Dreamlifter cargo plane

The Dreamlifter was built on a modified 747-400 airframe with an enlarged body. It's used to transport parts for Boeing's 787 aircraft from component suppliers to Boeing's assembly plants.

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

The C-5 Galaxy is a military transport aircraft  that first flew in 1968. It's been used to support military operations around the world, and to distribute humanitarian aid and help during evacuations.

Tupolev TU-160

Tupolev Tu-160

The Tupolev Tu-160 is the largest and heaviest combat aircraft currently flying. The plane, which had its first flight in 1981 but didn't enter service until 1987, is flown exclusively by the Russian Air Force.