With a total wingspan of 385 ft. the Stratolaunch Aircraft is for sure the largest plane in the world. It was built by Stratolaunch Systems, a company founded by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. On May, 31 the mega-aircraft has left its hangar for the first time ever and will commence first tests soon. “We’re excited to announce that Stratolaunch aircraft has reached a major milestone in its journey toward providing convenient, reliable, and routine access to low Earth orbit. This marks the completion of the initial aircraft construction phase and the beginning of the aircraft ground and flight testing phase”, Mr. Jean Floyd, CEO at Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, said to press.
“Once we achieved weight-on-wheels, it enabled us to weigh the Stratolaunch aircraft for the first time, coming in at approximately 500,000 lbs.”
Puling the aircraft out of its hangar meant that the full weight of the jet could be weighed for the first time. Although looking slim, the plane hits the 500,000 lbs. or 230 ton mark. It takes 28 wheels to move. For taking off and flying, the plane has a set of 6 Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines (which aviation experts know from Boeing 747 planes).
The maximum takeoff weight will come in at 1,300,000 lbs. or 590 tons.
Next Steps: Intensive Tests On Ground
Intensive testing is scheduled for the next weeks and months. First the company will run tests on ground. First flying tests are scheduled for the first quarter of 2019. See below the planned flight path Stratolaunch will take, or read Paul Allen’s vision on www.linkedin.com/pulse/Paul G Allen