World's Largest Aircraft Takes Flight for the First Time

by Ben Pena April 16, 2019, 0:17
World's Largest Aircraft Takes Flight for the First Time

M - The world's largest aeroplane by wingspan has taken flight for the first time.

The company reported the airplane was able to hit speeds of 189 miles per hour and heights of 17,000-feet during its 150-minute flight test, and test pilot Evan Thomas told reporters it ran smoothly.

But now Stratolaunch has already signed at least one customer, Northrop Grumman, which plans to use the company's innovation to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space."It was an emotional moment for me, personally, to watch this majestic bird take flight", said Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd.

The huge, six-engine aircraft known as Stratolaunch has a 385-foot wingspan, weighs about 500,000 pounds and is the dream of late Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen. According to Allen, who died October 15, 2018, this system would make satellite launches much easier and faster.

The aircraft is created to release rockets attached to the centre of its enormous wing, which stretches 385 feet from tip to tip.

The aircraft is so big its wing span is longer than a football field, or about 1.5 times that of an Airbus A380.

Powered by six Boeing 747 engines, the plane is meant to climb twice as high, and with a space rocket strapped underneath.

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The satellites that the Stratolaunch might launch in low Earth orbit in the future can provide communications and broadband internet connectivity to remote areas on the ground, according to CNN.

The previous wingspan leader was Howard Hughes' World War II-era eight-engine H-4 Hercules flying boat - nicknamed the Spruce Goose.

"We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today's historic achievement".

"A historic milestone for the #Stratolaunch team with this record setting aircraft taking flight!"

"Without a doubt, he would have been exceptionally proud to see his aircraft take flight", Floyd said.

"The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and we congratulate everyone involved".

While Stratolaunch calls its aircraft the world's largest, other airplanes exceed it in length from nose to tail. Though Stratolaunch is the largest plane by wingspan, another craft, the helium-filled Airlander 10, takes the title of the longest aircraft now flying with a length of 302 feet (92 m).

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