We all have travelled in the aeroplanes, at least once in our lives and we have come to learn that they are unusually large than any other means of transport (Except for Cruze Ships of course). But have you ever wondered that how such a magnificent structure takes off from the earth and fly high in the sky, ten thousand feet above the ground, with the use of just two large wings and two turbines? Well, this article is not here to answer your curiosity about how an aeroplane flies. Rather, it will trigger your curiosity to the next level by introducing you to the world’s biggest aircraft, which are so big that some of them can even fit another aeroplane in themselves.
#5. Antonio Antonov
Antonio Antonov or Antonov An-225 Mriya is one of the largest aircraft ever built. It is a cargo aircraft which is used for strategic airlifting. The Aircraft weighs 1.4 million pounds which is somewhat equal to 640 tons. Powered by a six turbofan engines, the heaviest aircraft that has ever been built has the larges wingspan around the world that any aircraft in operational service has. It is generally used to carry oversized payloads.
The aircraft was designed by the ‘Antonov Design Bureau’ in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. It is so unique and extra-ordinarily large that only one model has been made to date. This aircraft is big enough to carry smaller aircraft in itself.
The aircraft was made to transport the Buran spaceplane. It was developed as an enlarged version of its successful predecessor Antonov An-124. The first and the only model of An-225 was completed in 1988.
After serving its purpose in the Soviet military missions, it was put to rest and mothballed for 8 years, before if refurbishing it for commercial operations with Antonov Airlines. Since then, the aircraft is being used to carry oversized payloads.
It holds the world record of airlifting a single item payload of 189,980 kilograms (418,830 pounds). It holds another record for airlifting total payload of 253,820 kg (559,580 lb) and transporting a payload of 247,000 kg (545,000 lb) on a commercial flight.
The aircraft is around 275 ft (84m) long, 59.5 ft (18.1m) high and has a wingspan of 290 ft (88.4m). It weighs 628,317 lbs and can carry a payload of 300,000 lbs.
Stratolaunch or Scaled Composites Stratolaunch is an aircraft which is made by Scaled Composites. The aircraft looks most peculiar as it has not been designed for the purpose for which, aircraft are generally built. Stratolaunch is a rocket launching aircraft. The developers have designed it to launch rockets into the orbits.
The aircraft is 238 ft (73m) long and 50 ft (15m) high. It has the largest wingspan in the world i.e. 385 ft (117m) which is even a little extra than the standard length of a football field. It weighs up to half a million pound and can carry an external payload of 550,000 lbs
Announced in December 2011 and introduced to the world on May 2017, the aircraft took it’s first flight recently on 13th April 2019.
#3. The Super Guppy
SGT Super Guppy or B-377-SG by Aero Spacelines is a cargo aircraft. The aircraft was initially built in the 1960s as a successor of the company’s previous cargo-carrying model “The Pregnant Guppy”. Although the model was such a great success that it is used today for carrying oversized cargos. The biggest user of Super Guppy is NASA. They use it for carrying and transporting parts of space equipment like rockets, satellites etc.
Super Guppy is notably famous for being the only aeroplane in the world to have carried the whole 3rd stage of the Saturn V Rocket & 2nd stage on Saturn IB known as “S-IVB Stage”. The aircraft managed to do it multiple times during the whole Apollo Program.
The aircraft is around 144 ft (43.84m) long, 48.5 ft (14.78m) high and has a wingspan of 156.25 ft (47.625m). It weighs 101,500 lbs and can carry a payload of 54,500 Lbs.
#2. Boeing 747 Dream Lifter
Boeing 747 Dream Lifter AKA Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) is a wide-body cargo aircraft. Boeing uses this aircraft to transport the parts of aircrafts between Boeing factories around the world. The aircraft had the Largest cargo in the world. However, now it stands on the 2nd number. Cargo is placed in the aircraft using the longest cargo loader in the world.
The main cargo compartment of the aircraft has a volume of 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 cubic meters) and has a maximum payload capacity is 250,000 lbs.
The aircraft is around 235 ft (71.68m) long, 70.8 ft (21.54m) high and has a wingspan of 211.5 ft (64.4m). It weighs 180,530 kg (398,000 lb).
#1. The Airbus Beluga XL
The Airbus Beluga XL is an upgraded version of its predecessor, Airbus Beluga. The name Beluga is given to the aircraft because of its shape which resembles a species of whale fish Beluga. The aircraft is a super transporter developed by Airbus and is capable of carrying as much as 3 times the payload capacity of Boeing 747 Dreamlifter. The Airbus Beluga has pushed Dreamlifter on the 2nd position for having the largest cargo hold in the world (2615 cubic metre).
The aircraft made its first flight on 19th July 2018. With a payload capacity of 50,500 Kgs (111,333 lb), Beluga XL is 63.1 m (207 ft) long, 18.9 m (62 ft) high and has a wingspan of 60.3 m (197 ft 10 in). It weighs 127,500 kg (281,089 lb) and is one of the most heavy, unique and biggest cargo aircraft in the world.
Well now you know those weird pictures of extra-ordinarily large aircraft that you’ve seen on the internet were not fake or just for click-bat. They are real.