2050 is still a long way away, but top aircraft manufacturers are already conceptualizing what their planes could look like. This Airbus jet doesn’t have many details released, but it’s easy to assume it’ll be humongous.
Distance: 12,000 nautical miles
Although scrapped in 2010, this DARPA-funded project would have revolutionized long range travel in blimps. It would have been able to carry between 500 and 1000 tons of air cargo up to 12,000 nautical miles. Yeah, that was definitely too ambitious.
Length: 302 feet
Not to be confused with The Last Airbender, this ‘Airlander’ is larger than a soccer field despite looking like a bloated Goodyear blimp.
It’s supposed to bring the concept of airships back into popularity. Following the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, manufacturers were too afraid to revisit the idea. It’s being developed in the…[Read more]
Length: 262 ft
Online publications are referring to this as “flight in 2030.” Indeed, this could be the future. Progress Eagle, in its very early renderings, has three decks, a 314-ft wingspan, and space for 800 passengers. Wow!
To put this in perspective, the Airbus A380 is currently the world’s largest passenger airliner and it carries 525 p…[Read more]
Wingspan Length: 385 ft
Meet the next generation of grande-sized aircraft. This Stratolaunch carrier aircraft is the brainchild of Microsoft bigwig Paul Allen, and it will be able to launch into orbit. Test flights could happen as early as 2017.
Length: 136 ft 3 in
Handed the difficult task of refueling strategic bombers, the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker was used throughout the Vietnam War and was later used in Operation Desert Storm.
Length: 142 ft 3 in
Now let’s switch over to Germany, and the largest aircraft produced by any of the Axis powers in World War II. This BV 238 aircraft is not only one of the biggest ever built, but it’s also among the world’s heaviest planes with an empty weight of 120,769 pounds. Only one was ever built, which first flew in 1944.
Length: 218 ft 8 in
Colloquially known as the “Spruce Goose,” the Hughes H-4 Hercules was the creation of Howard Hughes.
Length: 162 ft 1 in
Although the B-36 “Peacemaker” had a short lifespan, it was the primary nuclear weapons delivery vehicle of the Strategic Air Command until it was replaced by the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. The aircraft was retired back in 1959 but it has a significant place in military history.
Length: 148 ft
The Airbus A400M Atlas is a relative baby in the scope of military history. Its first flight took place in December 2009, it was introduced in 2013, and it’s currently in use by four air forces: French, British, German, and Turkish.
Length: 159 ft 4 in
This post-World War II strategic bomber remains in service today. It all began with a successful contract bid in June 1946, followed by a six year period of designing and perfecting the aircraft.
Length: 182 ft 6 in
One of the biggest planes is also one of the oldest. The Convair XC-99 first flew back in 1947, was introduced in 1949, and ultimately retired in 1957.
Length: 226 ft 3 in
The aircraft was designed in the 1980’s by the Antonov design bureau in the Ukranian SSR. It has since become synonymous both in military and commercial aviation circles, seeing more than 50 units produced.
Length: 174 ft
One of the largest military transport aircraft ever built, the Globemaster III was produced between 1991 and 2015. The per unit cost was $218 million.
Length: 301 ft 10 in
The title here is very apt. The Caspian Sea Monster is truly terrifying as an experimental ground effect vehicle. Only one was created, and destroyed, thankfully.
A great 1960’s movie idea? 1,000 Caspian Sea Monsters speeding through the Atlantic Ocean towards New York City.
Length: 275 ft 7 in
This strategic airlift cargo aircraft is powered by six turbofan engines and is the longest and heaviest airplane ever built. Initially, it was developed in order to transport the Buran spaceplane.
Length: 247 ft 1 in
This iconic US Air Force plane is still in service, however the C-5M Super Galaxy is an upgraded version with modern avionics that should extend its service life past 2040.
Length: 177 ft 5 in
You’re looking at the largest and heaviest combat aircraft in use, and it belongs to the Russian Air Force. The Tu-160 entered service in 1987 and was the last strategic bomber designed for the Soviet Union, because two years later that silly wall was torn down.
Length: 143 ft 10 in
The successor to the Pregnant Guppy, this was the first Guppy aircraft made by Aero Spacelines. As you can tell, there’s plenty of room for cargo. You could pack a two bedroom apartment in there with ease.
Length: 91 ft 10 in
You’ve never heard of the Kalinin K-7? That’s probably because only 1 was built, and that was destroyed in a crash. The K-7 first flew on August 11, 1933 but showed instability and massive vibration issues to the airframe.
- Load More