List of large aircraft

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A size comparison of four of the largest aircraft. Click to enlarge.

This is a list of large aircraft.

The US Federal Aviation Administration defines a large aircraft as any aircraft with a certificated maximum takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds (5.7 tonnes) [1]

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) defines a large aircraft as either "an aeroplane with a maximum take-off mass of more than 5,700 kilograms (12,600 pounds) or a multi-engined helicopter."[2]


Fixed-wing[edit]

Civilian[edit]

Aircraft First flight Note
Antonov An-225 Mriya 21 December 1988 Generally acknowledged as the largest airplane in the world, the single Antonov An-225 is the world's heaviest aircraft ever (maximum takeoff weight greater than 640 tons) and the largest Heavier-than-air aircraft (in length and wingspan) ever entering operational service.
Airbus A380-800 [3] 23 April 2005 It is known as the largest passenger aircraft ever made.
Airbus A340 27 April 2005
Antonov An-124 1982 Was the largest mass-produced aircraft in the world until the Airbus A380 was produced. Remains the world's largest military aircraft currently in service.
Antonov An-22 27 February 1965 World's largest turboprop-powered airplane
Boeing 747[4] 9 February 1969 Highest-capacity passenger aircraft until surpassed by Airbus A380
Boeing 747-8 8 February 2010 (F variant) Lengthened version of 747 with increased span wing. World's longest passenger aircraft at 76.4 m (0.9 m / 3 ft longer than Airbus A340)[5]
Boeing 747 "Dreamlifter" 9 September 2006 747 with enlarged fuselage for transporting Boeing 787 Dreamliner sub-assemblies (1,800 cubic metres (65,000 cu ft))
Cessna Citation II 31 January 1977 MTOW 13,300 lb.
Tupolev Maxsim Gorki 19 May 1934 Physically the largest aircraft, and heaviest land-based aircraft of the 1930s era (63 meter/206.7 ft wingspan, 53 tonne MTOW), required eight 900 hp Mikulin V12 engines for flight
Dornier Do X 12 July 1929 Largest successful flying boat and heaviest aircraft in the world from 1929 until 1942 when the Boeing B-29 Superfortress first flew.

Military[edit]

Aircraft First flight Note
Blohm & Voss BV 238 11 March 1944 Very large flying boat. The largest aircraft in the world 1944 to 1945 when the single one was destroyed. The even heavier Convair B-36 first flew in 1947. Heaviest aircraft built during World War II, and largest aircraft produced by any of the Axis powers in World War II
Douglas XB-19[6] 27 June 1941 This experimental aircraft was the largest US bomber until 1946 when the Northrop YB-35 flew.
Boeing B-29 Superfortress[7] 21 September 1942 Largest aircraft in the world from 1942 to 1943 when the even heavier Junkers Ju-390 first flew. It was one of the largest bombers used during World War II
Convair B-36 Peacemaker[8] 8 August 1946 Largest aircraft in the world 1946 to 1947 when the even heavier Hughes H-4 Hercules first flew. First intercontinental strategic bomber, longest wingspan for a combat aircraft
Convair XC-99 23 November 1947 Developed from B-36, single prototype was the largest piston-engined land-based transport aircraft ever built
Kawanishi H8K January 1941 Largest WWII aircraft produced by Japan in any quantity (167 built)
Linke-Hofmann R.II 1919 Largest aircraft ever to fly with only one propeller, used largest airplane propeller ever used.
Lockheed C-5 Galaxy 30 June 1968 Largest USAF strategic airlifter and one of the largest military aircraft in the world
Martin JRM Mars 1941 Largest flying boat to enter production (7 built)
Messerschmitt Me 323 "Gigant" 1941 Biggest land-based cargo airplane during World War II
Myasishchev VM-T 1981 Derivative of the M-4 as outsized cargo aircraft
Tupolev Tu-160 18 December 1981 Heaviest combat aircraft ever built
Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI Circa 1916 Largest aircraft to see regular squadron service (in 1917) in World War I

Experimental and prototypes[edit]

Aircraft First flight Note
Beriev Be-2500 1980s proposal Would be the largest aircraft ever, if built; development started in the 1980s
Bristol Brabazon[9] 4 September 1949 A giant luxury airliner in which each passenger was given the space of a small car. This was not a commercial success and only the prototype flew.
Dassault Balzac 18 October 1962 Experimental VTOL jet. MTOW 29,630 lb.
Douglas X-3 Stiletto 15 October 1952 Supersonic research aircraft. Gross weight 22,100 lb.[10]
Ekranoplan KM October 16, 1966 The ekranoplan had wingspan of 37.6 m, length - 92 m, maximum take-off weight - 544 tons. Until An-225 it was the largest aircraft in the world. Unit KM was tested at the Caspian Sea for 15 years until 1980. In 1980, pilot error caused a crash without human casualties. The vehicle was too heavy to be recovered from its watery wrecksite.
Hughes H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" 1947, 2 November Largest aircraft in the world 1947 to 1952 when the even heavier Boeing B-52 Stratofortress first flew. World's largest flying boat, and largest wingspan of any aircraft. Only one was ever built and it performed only one short test flight.
Junkers Ju 390 1943, 20 October Largest aircraft in the world 1943 to 1944 when the even heavier Blohm & Voss BV 238 first flew. Selected and further developed as the Junkers firm's entry for the Amerika Bomber design contract.
North American XB-70 Valkyrie 21 September 1964 Prototype Mach 3 strategic bomber. Maximum take off weight 542,000 lb (246 tonnes).

Projects[edit]

Aircraft Design or Conception Note
Airbus A380-900 2006 development Announced in 2006 as a derivative of the Airbus A380-800. World's highest-capacity passenger aircraft in history. In May 2010, Airbus announced that A380-900 development was postponed, until production of the A380-800 has stabilised.[11]
Beriev Be-2500 1980s proposal Would be the largest aircraft ever, if built; development started in the 1980s
Boeing Pelican 1990s proposal Concept only for ground effect transport
Boeing 2707 SST 1960s design. A mockup was built but no prototype. Planned as an answer to the Anglo-French Concorde supersonic transport (SST). At 306 feet (93 m) long it would have been one of the longest airframes ever flown. Problems with the weight of the swing-wing mechanism and air friction heating in Mach 3 flight provoked a drastic redesign, by which time airline interest in SSTs was dropping because of environmental concerns. There was also political opposition to funding private industry. The U.S. Congress cut government funding in 1971 and airlines began canceling orders.
McDonnell Douglas MD-12 1990 proposal Proposed passenger aircraft, Designed to compete with the A380 and the 747, project canceled in mid-1990s
Sukhoi KR-860 1990s proposal KR-860 (Kryl'ya Rossii or "Wings of Russia") early named as SKD-717 is super large transport aircraft with weights about 650 tonnes (Antonov An-225 weight is 600 tonnes), payload about 300 tonnes (An-225 payload is 250 tonnes) and 860 to 1000 passengers, a proposed Double decker wide-body superjumbo jet by Russian aerospace company Sukhoi.
Scaled Composites Stratolaunch 2011, 13 December Announcement a proposed 117 m (385 ft) wingspan aircraft being developed by Scaled Composites to provide air-launch capability for air-launch-to-orbit Stratolaunch Systems
Conroy Virtus 1974 Proposed 140-metre wingspan aircraft capable of carrying Space Shuttle orbiter, or boosters, or Shuttle main tank
"Victory Bomber" 1940/41 Proposed 50-ton 52-metre wingspan design by Barnes Wallis able to carry a ten-ton earthquake bomb (of his own design) and drop it from 14,000 m on strategic targets in Germany. Rejected by RAF due to lack of usefulness for other types of missions and unlikely to be completed before end of war.[12]
Skylon current Proposed 345-tonne reusable spaceplane

Helicopters and rotary-wing aircraft[edit]

Aircraft First flight[Note 1] Note
Eurocopter EC135 1994 Twin engined.
Mil Mi-26 1977, 14 December Heaviest (56 tonnes), largest and most powerful helicopter in production ever.
Hughes XH-17 1952 Prototype heavy-lift helicopter with the largest rotor (129 ft) flown
V-22 Osprey 1989, 19 March One of the largest (27 tonnes) VTOL aircraft and the first operational tiltrotor
Mil Mi-10 1960, 15 June Heavy-lift "skycrane" developed from Mi-6, 114 ft rotor, 43 tonne MTOW
Mil V-12 or Mi-12 1968, 10 July Largest helicopter ever built; not put into production. 2x 114 ft rotors, 105 tonnes MTOW.
Sikorsky Sea King Many variants. Typ. MTOW 20,500 lb.
Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion 1981 At 33 tonnes, largest helicopter in service with the US armed forces
Fairey Rotodyne 1957 Largest compound gyroplane, 40 passenger capacity short haul airliner experiment
  1. ^ For designs that never flew the year of design or conception is used instead.

Airships[edit]

Hindenburg class airship compared to largest fixed-wing aircraft.
Aircraft First flight[Note 1] Note
HM Airship R100 1929, 16 December 220 m, 146,000 m3
HM Airship R101 1929, 14 October 236 m, 156,000 m3
R102 Planned Also known as Project H, planned 240,000 m3 airship. Cancelled along with possible 270,000 m3 R103
USS Akron 1931, 8 August 239 m, 180,000 m3 US Navy airship and largest helium-filled airship.
USS Macon 1933, 23 June Sister ship to Akron
LZ 129 Hindenburg 1936, 4 March, 245 m, 200,000 m3 Largest aircraft ever flown.
LZ130 Graf Zeppelin 1938, 14 September Sister ship to LZ 129 Hindenburg
  1. ^ For designs that never flew the year of design or conception is used instead.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Schoolcraft, Don, FAA Definitions begining(sic) with the letter L., Aviation Safety Bureau 
  2. ^ EASA Regulation – Amendment of Implementing Rule 2042/2003, Version 1, dated 31/012012, Page 4.[1] (retrieved 20 May 2014)
  3. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 140-149.
  4. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 124-130.
  5. ^ "Commercial Airplanes - 747 - Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and 747-8 Freighter". Boeing. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  6. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 10-11.
  7. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 56-57.
  8. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 82-83.
  9. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 115-121.
  10. ^ Miller, J.; The X-Planes, Speciality Press (1983)
  11. ^ "A380-900 and freighter both on 'back-burner': Enders". Flight International. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  12. ^ Buttler, Tony. Secret Projects: British Fighters and Bombers 1935 -1950 Midland Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-85780-179-2.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]