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Stratolaunch....the biggest aeroplane ever built.

FordGT90Concept

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#26
This is less about weight, more about launching rockets from high altitude.
 
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#27
I know , I just fund it surprising that a plane manufactured almost 30 years ago still far outclasses in some aspects what is being developed and manufactured today.
 

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#28
Because of practicality. Could make bigger aircraft carriers, for example, but why?

An-225 has a storied history. It was mothballed for a while then restored, for example. It's one of a kind...no sister aircraft were ever built.

I think if there was really demand for bigger aircraft, Boeing and Airbus would respond to it. Thing is, there really isn't.

Even Stratolaunch might end up being a one-off experiment.
 
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#29
The world's biggest plane is a step closer to its first flight, after passing another major milestone.



The aircraft travelled down the runway under its own power for the first time, firing all six of its Pratt and Whitney turbofan engines - each weighing 8,940lbs (4,000kg).
During the aircraft's first low-speed taxi test, Stratolaunch successfully travelled down the runway at 25 knots (28mph/45km/h).

1513798375052.png



The main purpose of the test was to put the aircraft’s ability to steer and stop through its paces.
A ground team from Stratolaunch Systems Corp monitored a number of systems, including steering, braking, anti-skid and telemetry.
All objectives of this test were achieved.


1513798428959.png



Since the first engine runs in September, the Stratolaunch team has performed a series of engine tests from a newly established Stratolaunch Mission Control Center (MCC) located at its facility at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
The MCC serves as the Seattle-based firm's hub for testing communications and will eventually be the centre of its aircraft and launch operations.
Once low-speed taxi tests have been safely completed, the company will begin the next phase of taxi testing, which will include increased speeds.


1513798504551.png



In addition to fuel testing, engineers began testing the flight control system.
So far, they have have exercised the full limits of motion and rate of deflection of the wings control surfaces and stabilisers.
Building up to this week’s engine tests, electrical, pneumatic, and fire detection systems were also given a once over.

Writing on the Stratolaunch website, CEO Jean Floyd said: 'Engine testing was conducted with a build-up approach and consisted of three phases.
'First as a "dry motor", where we used an auxiliary power unit to charge the engine.
'Next, as a "wet motor" where we introduced fuel. 'Finally, each engine was started one at a time and allowed to idle.
'In these initial tests, each of the six engines operated as expected.'
Over the next few months, they plan to continue to test the aircraft’s engines at higher power levels and varying configurations

1513798625873.png
 

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#30
The world's largest plane is a step closer to its first flight after passing another major milestone

Stratolaunch sped down the runway at 40 knots (46mph/74kph) in its latest low-speed taxi test, firing all six of its 8,940lbs (4,000kg) engines.

1519808418625.png



The main purpose of the latest test, which took place at California's Mojave Air and Space Port, was to put the aircraft’s ability to steer and stop through its paces.

A ground team from Stratolaunch Systems Corp monitored a number of systems, including steering, braking, anti-skid and telemetry.

Engineers conducted the aircraft's first low-speed taxi test in December, but during this run the vehicle only hit 25 knots (28mph/45km/h).

1519808442820.png


 

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#31
There really aren't many runways that can handle an aircraft that large.
 

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#32
This monster is really two planes in one. I'm curious to know if one of those cockpits is actually a dummy.

I can just picture a comedy sketch of a pilot in each cockpit trying to fly the plane independently and getting into a complete muddle, lol.
 

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#33

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#34
I'm curious to know if one of those cockpits is actually a dummy.

The three-person crew - pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer - will sit in the right-hand fuselage

The left-hand fuselage has what looks like a cockpit with windows to onlookers, but the section is in fact empty and unpressurised.
 

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#35
The three-person crew - pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer - will sit in the right-hand fuselage

The left-hand fuselage has what looks like a cockpit with windows to onlookers, but the section is in fact empty and unpressurised.
I'll bet if they pressurised it and booked it for tourists they could charge handsomely for the privilege. I wouldn't be surprised if this happens. Depends on how classified things are, I guess.

Also, I'd have thought having one fuselage pressurised and one not would affect the dynamics, but maybe it's not significant.

Oh and I see it's right hand drive for UK roads! :laugh:
 

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#36
The liabilities are too great. Its purpose in existing is basically to carry and set off bombs (rockets). If one catastrophically malfunctions, the side effect of death may result.

This aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight over more than a million pounds. A couple hundred pounds on one side that isn't on the other is a neglegible difference.

Aircraft are piloted on the left (TL;DR: because of torque steering of propeller driven planes). So why not the left cockpit? Because you have to think where the captain sits: on the left in the right cockpit means the captain also can see the payload. If the captain were on the left in the left cockpit, the captain couldn't see the payload at all.
 
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#37
Anyone know if it would have been possible to just use two or three helicopters to lug the rocket around? Seems like it would be about 100x cheaper.
 

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#38
Haha, no. Tethering helicopters together is extremely dangerous; nevermind, the fact they don't even come close to carrying as much payload as a fixed wing aircraft like this can. Rotary-wing aircraft have very practical limits on how big they can get because the tips of the blades have to contend with the sound barrier. They have to be extremely light yet extremely strong. They can only have a diameter so big before they become impractical (which is why the Chinook ended up with two rotors).
 
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#39
There really aren't many runways that can handle an aircraft that large.
It's a purpose built aircraft not designed for normal commercial use, so there really doesn't need to be. However, in an emergency I think it can land at a larger airport, based on the width of the wheel base.
 

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#40
It wont go anywhere near another runway

1519815161641.png
 

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#41
Anyone know if it would have been possible to just use two or three helicopters to lug the rocket around? Seems like it would be about 100x cheaper.
Helicopters, using rotor blades, rely upon the denseness of air. They could never get the altitude necessary, not to mention the other dangerous factors Ford mentioned.
 
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#42
@CAPSLOCKSTUCK I see now what the point of this is... woah, very epic haha
 

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#45
But but but this bird is wholly incapable of surfin'. :(
 
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#46
It's a purpose built aircraft not designed for normal commercial use, so there really doesn't need to be. However, in an emergency I think it can land at a larger airport, based on the width of the wheel base.
Correct, that airport (Mojave Air and Space Port in California) has a runway 200' wide. Most civilian runways are 150' ... there are a few exceptions like joint use civilian and military. Bangor Maine is an example with a 12,000' long by 200' wide runway. Which, by the way was an alternate shuttle landing place (so was Portmouth, NH)

Maneuvering around the airport is another consideration... the clear areas adjacent to taxiways, etc are to accommodate certain wingspans. No civilian airport was built to taxi anything this large. Yuge.
 

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#47
The twin-fuselage Stratolaunch airplane, with the longest wingspan in the world, is designed to carry as many as three rockets up to altitude and then drop them so they can launch satellites to space from there. But Paul Allen, founder of Stratolaunch Systems (as well as co-founder of Microsoft) recently told the Washington Post that he wants the enormous plane to eventually carry a space shuttle as well, making the launch system fully reusable. Called Black Ice, capable of flying from about 35,000 feet up to orbit and then returning to Earth to land.

1520590199651.png
 
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