People develop technologies, and the results are evident in the fantastic megastructures that continue sprouting in every corner of the earth. Human imagination has never been questioned even in medieval times as the construction of structures such as The Great Pyramids of Giza puzzle minds of people. What is even more startling is how the biggest planes in the world can fly despite their heavyweights.
A large aircraft is any aircraft that has a certified maximum take-off weight exceeding 12,500 lb (5,700 kg). It is surprising that while airlines have tended to move towards more flights and smaller aircraft, the largest planes continue to fly and will likely do so for years. It is not only passenger planes that are large, but also gigantic military transport jets, cargo planes and purpose-built commercial aircraft.
14 biggest planes in the world 2020
No amount of aeroplane pictures can do the Stratolaunch justice. It is the biggest aeroplane in the world, and it was built to launch rockets. This aircraft flew for the first time in 2019.
The plane has a wingspan of 385 feet which is wider than the length of a football field and weighs 226,796 kg. It has a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour. The Stratolaunch is powered by two fuselages and six Boeing 747 engines enabling it to launch rockets from the air.
2. Hughes H-4 Hercules (“Spruce Goose”)
The Hughes H-4 Hercules was a project by aviation tycoon Howard Hughes. The plane measured 66.65 meters in length, and its wingspan was 97.54 meters long. The 113,399-kilogram plane made its first and only flight in 1947.
That flight lasted only 26 seconds long (about one and a half kilometres), but that was enough for it to be considered as the largest wingspan plane ever flown. It may not be the largest plane in the world 2020, but its contribution to the field of aviation will never be forgotten.
3. Antonov An-225 Mriya
The Antonov An-225 Mriya weighs 285,000 kilograms making it the heaviest aircraft ever built. Its length is 84 meters long while the wingspan is 88.4 meters long. Even if it is not the biggest plane in the world 2020, the Antonov An-225 Mriya has the largest wingspan of any aircraft currently in service.
Only one kind of this aircraft has ever been built while a second one that was under construction remains unfinished because of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is used for heavy-lift jobs all over the world.
4. Airbus A380-800
The biggest passenger plane, the Airbus A380-800 flew for the first time in 2005. Its weight is estimated to be 277,000 kilograms with a length of 72.72 meters and a wingspan of 79.75 meters. It is a double-decker plane that was designed for a world exponential air traffic growth to solve the problem of congestion of major hub airports.
This plane can carry up to 850 passengers but on average operators opt to have 450 to 550 passengers. Dubai-based Emirates Airlines is the largest operator of the Airbus A380-800.
5. Boeing 747-8
The iconic Boeing 747-8 weighs 220,128 kilograms. Its length is 76.3 meters while the wingspan is 68.4 meters. It has dominated the skies for the last three decades and is easily recognizable due to its distinctive forward hump. The latest iteration of the Boeing 747 family, the 747-8 holds the record for the longest airline in the world.
6. Antonov An-124
The Antonov An-124 is a little smaller when compared to the Antonov An-225, but it is still one of the biggest planes in the world. It weighs 175,000 kilograms while the length of the plane is 68.96 meters and the wingspan 73.3 meters.
The Antonov An-124 is the largest military transport aircraft in the world and the second-heaviest mass-produced aircraft after the Boeing 747-8F. Apart from the Russian Air Force, the plane is used by other cargo operators to move oversized cargo.
7. Lockheed C-5 Galaxy
The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy weighs about 172,371 when empty and has a length of 75.31 meters. Its wingspan length is 67.89 meters. This is a massive plane that has the ability to airlift 6 Apache gunship helicopters or 2 M1 main battle tanks for long distances up to 11,000 kilometres. It is used by the US Strategic Airlift Command to support American military deployments overseas.
8. Boeing 747 Dreamlifter
Boeing 747 Dreamlifter is a large cargo plane that is 71.68 meters long and has a wingspan of 64.4 meters. It weighs 180,530 kilograms. Boeing developed it to transport components for the 787 Dreamliner. Basically, it is a Boeing 747 with a custom cargo hold around it.
9. Tupolev Tu-160
The Tupolev Tu-160 aircraft weighs 110,000 meters and is 54.10 meters long. Its wingspan spread is 55.70 meters. It is a strategic bomber used by the Russian Air Force. It is the largest combat aircraft in the world. It is also the largest supersonic aircraft and the largest swept-wing aircraft in the world
10. Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
The Boeing B-52 bomber is an impressive military plane that is 48.5 meters long and has a wingspan length of 56.4 meters. It weighs 83,250 kilograms. It has immediate nuclear and conventional global strike capability. It prides itself as the most combat-capable bomber in the US. It can carry up to 70,000 pounds of weapons and has been in service for close to six decades.
11. Airbus Beluga
The Airbus Beluga's overall length is 56.16 meters long. Its wingspan is 44.84 meters long, and it has a maximum take-off weight of 155 tonnes. The plane was designed specifically to transport large and awkward aircraft parts. Ever since it has been used to move large air cargo.
12. Aero Spacelines Super Guppy
The Super Guppy has a length of 43.84 meters, and its wingspan is 47.63 meters long. When empty, it weighs 46,040 kilograms. Although it is retired by every other institution in the world, it is still being used by NASA. This is because its broad dimensions enable it to transport spacecraft and rocket components.
13. HAV Airlander 10
Weighing 20,000 kilograms, the HAV Airlander 10 is a blend of a plane and an airship. The hybrid airship is said to be the world’s largest flying machine. It was designed by the US military and manufactured by the British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV). It is still in the testing phase and could be put to use for both civilian and military courses.
14. Mil Mi-26
The Mil Mi-26 is a helicopter with a length of 40 meters when the rotors are turning. It weighs 28,200 kilograms and has a rotor diameter of 32 meters. It is the largest helicopter to go into serial production. Air forces and cargo operators use it. The helicopter can transport 90 troops or 20 tons of cargo.
The biggest planes in the world weigh thousands and thousands of kilograms and can carry tons of passengers and cargo. Such planes provide a marvel of modern engineering forms such as double-decker passenger planes and customized cargo jets. They may not be the most fuel-efficient, but the world’s biggest planes are here to stay.
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