The world’s biggest airplane took flight on Saturday. Paul Allen was not able to live long enough to witness the Stratolaunch go on its maiden flight. The Microsoft co-author passed away in late 2018. Stratolaunch is a gigantic aircraft, considered to be the world’s largest airplane as of right now.
A release had the amazing milestone of Stratolaunch announced. The aircraft took off from Mojave Air and Space Port located in California. It stayed in the air for about 2.5 hours over the desert where it was able to attain altitudes of up to 17,000 feet while exhibiting a top speed of 189 mph.
Stratolaunch calls the plane ‘the world’s largest all-composite aircraft’. The plane is not just big for the sake of being big or to grab the record. It has been designed this way so that it is able to cradle other vehicles in its belly. These vehicles can then be launched to space from Stratolaunch. To give you an idea about the size of Stratolaunch, if you place it on an American football field, the wings would be able to reach across both end zones.
This enormous aircraft took flight on Saturday. Imagine it launching a rocket from under it that would take a satellite into orbit. It would be a sight to see, right? The plane features a reinforced center wing that measures in at 117 meters and can hold more than one launch vehicle weighing 500,000 pounds.
Paul Allen had founded Stratolaunch back in 2011. The aim of the company was to bring ‘airline-style access to space’ as a viable alternative to launch systems that are ground-based. Jody Allen, chair of Vulcan Inc. and Trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust said, ‘We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today’s historic achievement.’
The pilots that flew the behemoth of an aircraft had to carry out a long to-do list including flight-control maneuvers and simulating landing approach exercises. The plane was able to return to the ground safely after completing its maiden flight.