'World's biggest aeroplane' with huge wingspan carries out maiden flight

An aircraft with the longest wingspan in the world has safely completed its first flight.

The Stratolaunch, which has the world’s longest wingspan though is not the biggest when it comes to nose-to-tail measurements, landed two hours after taking off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

The twin-fuselage jet, which has six engines and a wingspan of 385ft from tip to tip, flew up to 17,000ft and reached speeds of around 170mph while its performance and handling qualities were evaluated.

<em>Stratolaunch is the world’s biggest aeroplane by wingspan (Picture: AP/Matt Hartman)</em>
Stratolaunch is the world’s biggest aeroplane by wingspan (Picture: AP/Matt Hartman)

Stratolaunch, set up by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is designed to launch satellites into space from its wing.

According to its website, it aims to “make access to orbit as routine as catching a commercial airline flight is today”.

Boy, 10, killed by dog in Cornwall holiday park

Following its first flight, CEO Jean Floyd said it was amazing to “watch this majestic bird take flight” and the aircraft had made a “spectacular” landing.

Pilot Evan Thomas reportedly said the experience was “fantastic” and that “for the most part, the airplane flew as predicted”.