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Seeing is believing! World’s biggest aircraft takes off

April 15, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The largest aircraft ever built, with a wingspan almost 50% wider than an Airbus A380, took off for the first time yesterday on its test flight – as shown in the clip below.

You won’t be seeing this plane in Australia anytime soon (almost certainly never) so perhaps watch the one-minute video:

The plane is named Roc, after an enormous legendary bird of prey that features in Middle Eastern mythology. The modern Roc is a highly specialised aircraft designed to haul rockets up to launch attitude to put satellites in orbit.

Roc was launched at the weekend from the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California by Stratolaunch, a private launch company founded by the late billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Allen died last year aged 65.

Looking like two planes joined together, Roc even has two fuselages. It took off early yesterday morning (Australian time) and stayed aloft for 2.5 hours, reaching a maximum altitude of 17,000 feet (5180 meters) and a top speed of 189 mph (304 km/h).

Roc on the runway.

The largest plane ever built, Roc has six jet engines and a wingspan of 117 metres – longer than a football field.

No passenger version is planned. Like Howard Hughes’ famous eight-engined ‘Spruce Goose’ (which first flew in 1947) the Roc is destined to be a one-off.

The Spruce Goose had the widest wingspan of any aircraft ever – until the Roc.

Spruce Goose flew only once but Roc will fly again, probably many times, carrying rocket and satellite payloads high enough to launch at a competitive price.


Written by Peter Needham

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