World's largest plane makes first test flight

World's largest plane makes first test flight

World's largest plane makes first test flight

Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane, successfully flew for the first time this morning in a two and a half hour test flight over the Mojave desert.

With a dual fuselage design and wingspan greater than the length of an American football field, the airplane took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the USA state of California at 6:58am Pacific Time, according to a release of Stratolaunch.

Built by Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, the company founded by Paul G Allen, late Microsoft co-founder, Stratolaunch has a dual fuselage design.

According to their website, Stratolaunch aims to "make access to orbit as routine as catching a commercial airline flight is today".

"What a fantastic first flight", Stratolaunch's chief executive Jean Floyd said in a statement on Saturday.

Stratolaunch was piloted by Scaled Test Pilot Evan Thomas, a former F-16 pilot with 28 years of experience with the US Air Force.

Stratolaunch said that by launching rockets from the air, it can "circumvent bad weather, air traffic and other variables that cause delays with traditional ground launches". "I honestly could not have hoped for more on a first flight, especially of an airplane of this complexity and this uniqueness", he said in a brief media call after the flight.

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

The 117-meter wide plane took off from a runway in California's Mohave Desert and flew for 2.5 hours at altitudes of up to 5,000 meters at speeds of up to 304 km/h. And for the most part, the airplane flew as predicted which is again exactly what we want.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, announced in 2011 that he had formed the privately funded Stratolaunch.

Originally, the company had reportedly planned to build a whole suite of rockets, including a spaceplane.

The test team conducted standard aircraft testing exercises. Until now, it had just carried out tests on the ground.

"It's these possibilities that drove us to develop the world's largest plane, which acts as a launch pad in the sky, bypassing numerous hazards that cause ground-launch delays here on Earth".

Stratolaunch portrays its vessel as the "world's biggest plane" however there are air crafts which are longer from nose to tail.

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