World’s largest aircraft completes first-ever flight

The world’s largest aircraft – measured by wingspan – took its first flight from Mojave Air and Space Port (MHV) on Saturday, departing at 6:58 a.m. PST. It achieved a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour and reached an altitude of 17,000 feet before returning 2.5 hours later. 

The plane was designed by the Seattle-based aerospace company Stratolaunch, which was founded by the late business magnate Paul Allen in 2011. It is intended to be used as a “launch pad in the sky” to enable “airline-style access to space that is convenient, affordable and routine.” The reinforced center wing, which gives the aircraft its odd appearance, can support up to 500,000 pounds for multiple launch vehicles.

If the Stratolaunch aircraft’s sheer size isn’t enough to make you double-take, its double-fuselage design will. The six-engine Stratolaunch jet’s wingspan stretches 385 feet – 25 feet longer than the length of a football field, dwarfing the Hughes H-4 Hercule, otherwise known as the “Spruce Goose,” which has held the title of world’s largest plane since it was built in 1947, and has a wingspan of 320 feet.

Experience the monster-aircraft for yourself as it departs from MHV in the video, below: 

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