World's biggest airplane soars over California in successful test flight

World News

THE WORLD'S biggest airplane has soared over Southern California in its fourth flight.

Stunning images show the giant H-shaped Stratolaunch Roc plane flying on a trip that lasted two hours.


The plane reached an altitude of 15,000 feet.

It's got an impressive wingspan of 385 feet.

That's almost twice the width of a Boeing 747.

The gigantic aircraft took off Mojave Air and Space Port in California at at 3:23pm ET (8:23pm GMT) on Thursday.

It reached speeds of 178 miles per hour although it has been designed to reach up to 530 miles per hour when necessary.

Stratolaunch had to cut the test flight short due to vibration issues and a warning light coming on.

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Despite this, the flight on the whole was still considered a success.

The official Stratolaunch Twitter account tweeted: "Time to stretch those legs!

"We just successfully retracted and extended our full landing gear for the first time."

About an hour later it added: "Mission complete! Roc is back on the ground and the team is busy analyzing the data gathered today."

The giant plane had to complete four flybys to burn off extra fuel for a safe early landing.

Its only passengers this time were two pilots and an engineer.

Stratolaunch's Roc plane is the world's largest aircraft by wingspan and will one day carry space craft to be air-launched into orbit.

It has six engines and looks like it has two cockpits.

However, the pilots only sit on the right side of the plane.

The left nose is unpressurised and is said to contain flight data systems.

The Roc plane is being designed to be an airborne space launch platform.

It will carry hypersonic flight rockets up into the low Earth orbit.

This will include Stratolaunch’s fully reusable and autonomous Talon-A hypersonic aircraft.

The Roc aircraft still has more tests to go before it will be trusted to carry anything though.

It's come a long way from its first test flight in April 2019.



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