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World's largest plane makes first flight over California

World's largest plane makes first flight over California

The world's largest aircraft successfully completed its first test flight on Saturday.

A giant six-engine aircraft with the world's longest wingspan has taken off from California on its first flight.

"All of you've been very patient and very tolerant over the years waiting for us to get this big bird off the ground, and we finally did it", Jean Floyd, chief executive of Stratolaunch, said at the briefing. It could potentially enable airline-style access to space flight, making the journey both routine and affordable for everyday passengers.

Stratolaunch's goal is to make satellite launches easy and cheap.

Built by Stratolaunch, the company set up by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011, the aircraft is created to act as a flying launch pad for satellites, BBC reports.

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Here's how Stratolaunch is supposed to work once the plane is fully tested and certified: The jet, carrying a rocket loaded with a satellite, will take off from Mojave and climb to an altitude of 35,000 feet. As part of the initial flight, the pilots evaluated aircraft performance and handling qualities before landing successfully back at the Mojave Air and Space Port, said the release.

Stratolaunch was founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who passed away earlier this year. The unusual aircraft, built by the legendary aeronautical engineering company Scaled Composites in the Mojave Desert, has two fuselages and is powered by six Boeing 747 engines. Stratolaunch Systems plans to use the aircraft to launch air-to-space rockets with a weight of up to 500,000 lb (226,796 kg). "Evan specializes in experimental flight test, aviation and test safety, aircraft stability and control testing as well as operational leadership", says an official. "I honestly could not have hoped for more on a first flight, especially of an airplane of this complexity and this uniqueness", he said in a brief media call after the flight. The aircraft is created to release rockets attached to the center of its enormous wing, which stretches 385 feet (117 meters) from tip to tip.

Powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 turbofan engines, it is s treat to the eyes Stratolaunch takes off with 28-wheel landing gear.

"The airplane very nicely, smoothly rotated and really just lifted off the ground", he said.

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