The world’s largest aircraft recently set a major record after it completed its historic test flight above California’s Mojave Desert. The aircraft, also known as the Stratolaunch Roc carrier plane, or ‘Roc’, left Mojave Air and Space Port and landed at the same take-off location six hours later at 5:51 p.m. local time.
According to a representative for Stratolaunch, the massive plane reached a maximum capacity of 22,500 feet during its flight. The aircraft also holds a wingspan of 383 feet, which is longer than any football field in existence. Before the creation of Roc, the Antonov An-225 Mriya held the longest wingspan at 90 feet.
The Stratolaunch Roc was made to carry and launch hypersonic vehicles. In addition, it can also pick up around 220 tons and gets its power from six Boeing 747 engines. In addition, the test flight was also the aircraft’s ninth trip since it was created. Following the test flight Stratolaunch CEO and president Zachary Krevor released a statement.
“Our amazing team is continuing to make progress on our test timeline, and it is through their hard work that we grow closer than ever to safe separation and our first hypersonic flight tests,” he said.
He added: “The thorough evaluation of release conditions will provide data to reduce risks and ensure a clean and safe release of Talon-A during future tests. We are excited for what’s ahead this year as we bring our hypersonic flight test service online for our customers and the nation.”
The aircraft took its inaugural flight in the spring of 2019, which lasted over two hours and reached a maximum speed of 175 miles per hour. For altitude, it climbed 15,000 feet, according to Space.com.
Nepal plane nosedives into gorge, leaves no survivors
For its most recent trip, test pilot Evan Thomas said the flight went off without a hitch, saying, “The flight itself was smooth, which is exactly what you want a first flight to be.”
He added: “It flew very much like we had simulated and like we predicted.” As for future goals, the sky is the limit as the company hopes to one day orbit space with the monster aircraft.
Meanwhile, a more sinister event occurred in Nepal as an aircraft crashed, killing all 72 passengers onboard.
The plane, a Yeti Airlines flight, was en route from Kathmandu to Pokhara when it nosedived into a gorge Sunday while attempting to land at an airport.
“I saw the plane trembling, moving left and right, and then suddenly it nosedived, and it went into the gorge,” said local resident Khum Bahadur Chhetri about the tragedy.
Now, footage taken from inside the plane showed passengers talking as the plane started its descent.