The legendary cargo-transporter aircraft AN-225, better known as ‘Mriya’, is coming to Microsoft Flight Simulator courtesy of a collaboration between iniBuilds, Microsoft and the Antonov company.
The product was announced during the most recent official developer stream (starting at 01:08:51), where other developments in the simulator’s 2023 roadmap were uncovered. For more information on those, check out our companion article covering everything else mentioned on the developer stream – from the next Sim Update, World Update, possible new airport editing tools and ANOTHER Antonov airplane coming to the sim!
However, it was undoubtedly the AN-225 which stole the show. The product was first teased by head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann before a pre-recorded video clip of Mr Antonov himself was shown to viewers. Mr Antonov expressed his gratitude at being able to work with Microsoft, iniBuilds and Asobo Studios on bringing the 225 to life in digital form after the real-world plane was sadly destroyed at it’s home base in Ukraine during the first days of the Russian invasion in February 2022.
Cameron, a developer from iniBuilds then joined the stream to showcase the plane in it’s current format. From what we can see, both the exterior of the aircraft and the cabin have been modelled to a high level of detail, with even small features such as cabin fans and a desk light at the navigator’s desk having been modelled and detailed to the standard we have come to expect from iniBuilds after the lauded release of their A310. We also got to see that the crew rest quarters and the interior of the cargo bay has been modelled by the iniBuilds team, up to and including the slightly strange colour of the cargo bay’s floor, which Cameron tells us despite looking ‘not right’ is actually because the floor is made from solid titanium.
Cameron was keen to stress just how large the aircraft was – with a total wingspan of 88.4 metres and height of a four storey building, simmers will have to be extra careful when taxiing and manoeuvring to ensure they have wingtip clearance. Fortunately, the real plane has 3 counter-steering axles in the aft landing gear which will help you to stay centred, and Cameron was able to confirm that this behaviour has been modelled for the MSFS version.
The aircraft is also extraordinarily capable of lifting heavy payloads – up to 255 metric tonnes! To make life easier for simmers doing weight and balance calculations, iniBuilds have included a payload manager tablet which allows us to pick from a number of cargo options ranging from ‘generic’ palettes and crates, a train, a lorry, and even (the heaviest payload included) a boiler, which clocks in at 188 tonnes.
The payload manager is situated within a tablet computer, much like an EFB. It remains to be seen if this payload manager tablet contains other functionality such as take-off and landing performance calculators alongside its cargo management features.
In regards to pricing, Jorg let us know during the stream that all the proceeds raised from sales of the AN-225 will go towards Antonov, and the company has earmarked these funds specifically for rebuilding the real-world 225. This confirms the plane will be payware unlike the A310 that came with the Microsoft Flight Simulator 40th Anniversary Update, although Jorg says the price is only going to be approximately $20 USD, which considering the level of detail that we have already seen would make the price point very competitive. Jorg also confirmed that Asobo will take 0% of the money raised from selling the AN-225, and that all proceeds will go direct to the Antonov company.
This pricing and breakdown of proceeds presents simmers with a unique opportunity to not only own a unique addon aircraft and have access to a digital preservation of the AN-225, but also hopefully contribute to preserving the real-world counterpart, something which Jorg says makes him “very proud”.
In terms of a release date, the plane has been constructed by iniBuilds using WASM (web-assembly module) tools which are slated to be included in Sim Update 12. However, Jorg stressed during the stream that he would like the AN-225 to release on the 1 year anniversary of the real-world plane’s destruction, February 27 2023. This means that XBox players will unfortunately have to wait until at least the scheduled release date of Sim Update 12 (currently March 14th), and any subsequent delays to SU12 will necessarily entail pushing back the console release of Mriya.
FSElite will continue to keep you updated with all the developements on this exciting new product for Microsoft Flight Simulator. For more information on the other announcements made on the stream, including information about World Update XII New Zealand, Sim Update 12, the Caribou and another Antonov aircraft coming to Microsoft Flight Simulator as Famous Flyer #5, check out our handy companion article here!