Since the early 1900s, air travel has become the fastest way of traveling across the world. Its wide body, beautiful wings, tremendous wheels, and powerful engines feel us fly over the sky every time we adore it. As time evolves, airplane manufacturing changes: it becomes faster, larger, more advanced and more comfortable.
Have you ever wondered which might be the largest aircraft ever made in the world?
Seize your travel knowledge on interesting facts about air travel from the plane that carries around 850 passengers to the evolutionary Stratolaunch.
Here are the top 10 largest planes in the world that have been ever made in history. Remember, the list has been sorted with several ways to measure aircraft, such as length, weight, wingspan or even volume.
Length: 72.72 meters
Wingspan: 79.75 meters
Empty Weight: 277,000 Kilograms
First Flight: 2005
A380 is the largest commercial passenger plane ever made by passenger capacity, wingspan, weight and volume. It is a wide-body, double-decker, and four-engine aircraft that carry theoretically up to 853 of passenger capacity, whereas most of the operators have opted for a typical passenger layout of 450 to 550.
Length: 76.3 meters
Wingspan: 68.4 meters
Empty Weight: 220,128 Kilograms
First Flight: 2010
The 747 is one of the largest passenger planes ever since its entry into service during the early 1970 and for over 30 decades. It was marked the “Queen of Skies” for leading this undisputed period. Boeing 747-8 is the latest and largest variant to the Boeing 747 family, which keeps it holding the place in the record book as the longest airline in the world. The aircraft is instantly recognizable and remains a popular icon for its unique forward hump. In addition, because of its much shorter wingspan, it has been a great benefit to operate as it increases the number of airports.
Tupolev Tu – 160
Length: 54.10 meters
Wingspan: 55.70 meters
Empty Weight: 110, 000 Kilograms
First Flight: 1981
Tu-160 is the world’s largest missile carrier bomber in operation with the Russian Air Force. It is affectionately known as the White Swan in Russia and Blackjack in the West. Tupolev Tu – 160 is the heaviest supersonic combat aircraft, the fastest bomber in use and the largest swept-wing airplane ever flown in the world.
Antonov An-225 Mirya
Length: 84 meters
Wingspan: 88.4 meters
Empty Weight: 285,000 Kilograms
First Flight: 1988
Antonov An-225 is the largest cargo aircraft comprising six engines and 32 wheels that can carry a massive payload of 250 tonnes of any aircraft. It boasts the superlatives of both the heaviest and the largest aircraft of wingspan ever built that is currently in service. Infact, it is the only one An-225 was ever built, although a second remains uncompleted.
Length: 68.96 meters
Wingspan: 73.3 meters
Empty Weight: 175,000 Kilograms
First Flight: 1982
Sticking with the same manufacture of An-225, the Antonov Design Bureau designed the An-125, maybe smaller in size but one of the largest military transport aircraft ever. The An-125 is still in service with the Russian Air Force, and several cargo operators used it to move heavy and oversized cargo. Until the advent of the Boeing 747-8F, the An-124 was also the heaviest commercial production airplane for three decades.
Lockheed C-5 Galaxy
Length: 75.31 meters
Wingspan: 67.89 meters
Empty Weight: 172,371 Kilograms
First Flight: 1968
The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is among the largest military transporter aircraft in size and payload, capable of lifting a payload of 127 tonnes and adds a huge range of inflight refueling. C-5 Galaxy has been the mainstay of U.S. military operations for several decades and remains active in the U.S. Air Force service. In addition, it supports military operations worldwide and distributes humanitarian assistance & help during evacuations.
Airbus Beluga XL
Length: 63 meters
Wingspan: 60 meters
Empty Weight: 125,000 Kilograms
First Flight: 2018
Beluga XL is the largest transport aircraft with a heavy modification of the Airbus A330-200 airliner. It is built by Airbus to carry its oversized aircraft components. The aircraft offers a fuselage volume of 2,209 cubic meters, which is larger when compared with Boeing’s Dreamlifter at 1,840 cubic meters. Beluga XL started its service with Airbus Transport in 2020.
Length: 72 meters
Wingspan: 64 meters
Empty Weight: 180,500 Kilograms
First Flight: 2006
The Dreamlifter is a specially modified Boeing 747-400 airframe with an enlarged fuselage, allowing full access to the fuselage through an innovative tail swing door. It was designed to transport aircraft parts for Boeing 787 from component suppliers to Boeing’s assembly plants.
Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose”
Length: 66.65 meters
Wingspan: 97.54 meters
Empty Weight: 113, 399 Kilograms
First Flight: 1947
The aircraft once was the largest wingspan aircraft that has ever flown, designed for use during World War II. This flying boat’s first and only flight experience was just 26 seconds or about one mile (1.6 km). But this short interval is enough for the “Spruce Goose” to be remembered in history. Due to the wartime restrictions, the flying boat has a wooden fuselage, and concerning the weight, it was nicknamed the Spruce Goose. The massive aircraft is currently preserved and on display at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in Oregon, United States.
Length: 73 meters
Wingspan: 117 meters
Weight: 226,796 Kilograms
First Flight: 2019
The Stratolaunch has never flown yet, but it could be the largest wingspan aircraft ever made when it comes to operation. The co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, founded the aircraft project. This huge plane was composed of two fuselages joined together and was designed to carry a rocket weighing upto 250 tonnes carried between the fuselages for launch into orbit.
However, there have been multiple ways of measuring aircraft, and several other aircraft could be added to this list. So coming across interesting facts about travel adds quite an excitement to your travel knowledge!