Stratolaunch, World’s Largest Airplane, Takes Flight for First Time

Stratolaunch became the world's largest plane by wingspan to ever take flight on Saturday. The behemoth aircraft was invented by Paul Allen, the late billionaire co-founder of Microsoft. Stratolaunch flew over the California desert, taking off from the Mojave Air and Space Port, and stayed airborne for two-and-half-hours. The plane has a wingspan longer than a football field, twin fuselage, 28 wheels, and six 747 jet engines. After Allen's death in October, the plane and the company's future were uncertain. Despite having to drastically scale back and lay off dozens of employees, the company was able to get Stratolaunch off the ground. Allen always hoped the plane would be used to help make getting satellites, and possibly people, into space more affordable and accessible. “We finally did it,” said Jean Floyd, Stratolaunch’s chief executive. Adding that it was inspiring “to see Paul Allen’s dream come to life.”