The world's largest plane isn't what you think it is
For many, the world's biggest plane is believed to be the Airbus A380. Sorry to break it to you, but that's the biggest passenger plane, and far from the biggest plane overall. Avgeeks think it's the Antonov 225. Well, that's also not correct. On the 13th of April 2019, a new plane took to the sky, one that would shatter a long-standing record: the Stratolaunch.
The Stratolaunch is massive. With a wingspan of 386 feet, it trumps the Hughes H-4 Hercules by 66 feet, which held the record since 1947 for 72 years. The plane is powered by six engines taken from the Boeing 747, and despite it's huge weight, it managed to stay in the air for 2 hours and reach a maximum altitude of 19,000 feet.
So, what is this plane exactly built for? Well when the company was founded in 2011, it's original purpose was to carry satellites into space. But after founder Paul Allen died in 2018, the company was sold the following year and it took a different direction. Now, the company plans to fly this garangutan machine in order to carry it's new hypersonic aircraft into the sky, which are capable of flying at Mach 6 (six times the speed of sound.)
To date, the Stratolaunch has had only one test flight, but that could soon change once these hypersonic vehicles are built. With an airplane this big, it's highly likely that the Stratolaunch will retain it's title for years, possibly decades to come until another massive beast of a plane starts being developed. For now though, the Stratolaunch will be the new and undisputed king of the skies.