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Aviation

Stratolaunch: World's largest plane successfully completes maiden flight

Updated : April 14, 2019 07:59 AM IST

The world's largest aircraft, developed by aerospace venture Stratolaunch, completed its first flight test on Saturday. 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 California at 6:58 am (Pacific Time). Achieving a maximum speed of 189 miles (302.4 km) per hour, the plane flew for 2.5 hours over the Mojave Desert at altitudes up to 17,000 feet. As part of the initial flight, the pilots evaluated aircraft performance and handling qualities before landing successfully back at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

Stratolaunch, a giant six-engine aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan, makes its historic first flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif., Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
Stratolaunch, a giant six-engine aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan, makes its historic first flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif., Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
Founded by the late billionaire Paul G. Allen, Stratolaunch is vying to be a contender in the market for air-launching small satellites. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
Founded by the late billionaire Paul G. Allen, Stratolaunch is vying to be a contender in the market for air-launching small satellites. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
Regarding initial results from Saturday's test flight, Stratolaunch said the test team performed a variety of flight control maneuvers to calibrate speed and test flight control systems, including roll doublets, yawing maneuvers, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
Regarding initial results from Saturday's test flight, Stratolaunch said the test team performed a variety of flight control maneuvers to calibrate speed and test flight control systems, including roll doublets, yawing maneuvers, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
Stratolaunch was founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011 to develop the large carrier airplane as a flying launch pad for orbital-class rockets. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
Stratolaunch was founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011 to develop the large carrier airplane as a flying launch pad for orbital-class rockets. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
With a dual fuselage design and wingspan greater than the length of an American football field, the Stratolaunch aircraft took flight at 0658 PDT from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
With a dual fuselage design and wingspan greater than the length of an American football field, the Stratolaunch aircraft took flight at 0658 PDT from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
Achieving a maximum speed of 189 miles (302.4 km) per hour, the plane flew for 2.5 hours over the Mojave Desert at altitudes up to 17,000 feet.. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
Achieving a maximum speed of 189 miles (302.4 km) per hour, the plane flew for 2.5 hours over the Mojave Desert at altitudes up to 17,000 feet.. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
The aircraft has a world-record wingspan of 385 feet, and is 238 feet long. It is wider than any airplane on the planet. It weighs half a million pounds. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
The aircraft has a world-record wingspan of 385 feet, and is 238 feet long. It is wider than any airplane on the planet. It weighs half a million pounds. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
The Stratolaunch aircraft is a mobile launch platform that will enable airline-style access to space that is convenient, affordable and routine. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
The Stratolaunch aircraft is a mobile launch platform that will enable airline-style access to space that is convenient, affordable and routine. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
Dozens of photographers, industry bloggers and aerospace enthusiasts gathered to glimpse the unique twin-fuselage plane. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
Dozens of photographers, industry bloggers and aerospace enthusiasts gathered to glimpse the unique twin-fuselage plane. (Image Credit: Stratolaunch)
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