World's Largest Airplane Weighing 1,200,000 lbs

The first pictures of the Stratolaunch airplane system have developed, courtesy of KGET in Bakersfield, and the thing is just as huge we thought. Bringing the huge aircraft to fruition is not a done deal, but it's a good symbol that the unbelievable build is under way.

Once completed, the behemoth plane will have a 385-foot wingspan, making it the biggest aircraft ever. It's not intended as a passenger plane, though. Backer Paul Allen (he of Microsoft fame) has larger plans in mind: space launches. The Stratolaunch will fly to a high height before deploying a rocket that will detach, and then fire off like a missile into orbit. The plane will have two 238-foot long fuselages and 12 landing gears. Carrying the rocket, it will weigh 1,200,000 lbs. 

Did we mention this thing is really big?

Now look at the scale of part of those tail sections related to the humans in the photographs.

And that's only the tail units! Insane. This graphic relates the Roc—as they call it—with other airplanes, like the 747-8, the Airbus A-380-800 or the unfortunate Hughes H-4 Spruce Goose.

If you hope this will go nowhere, remember that we are talking about Paul Allen—who has more money than god—and Gary L. Wentz, Jr., the project head who was the Ex-Chief Engineer of the Science and Mission Systems at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Aircraft Industry


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