Giant Stratolaunch plane conducts first taxi test


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Capitalism in space: The giant Stratolaunch plane built out of two 747s completed its first taxi test yesterday.

Stratolaunch’s plane, nicknamed Roc, has the widest wingspan in the aviation world at 385 feet. That’s 50 percent wider than the wings of a Boeing 747 — which probably shouldn’t be surprising, considering that parts from two 747s went into building the plane. Mojave-based Scaled Composites aided in the fabrication of the plane’s carbon composite components.

I think a better way to illustrate the size of the wingspan is to note that if you laid a Saturn 5 rocket along those wings, it would not reach the tips at either end, being “only” 363 feet long.

Several experienced engineers at Behind the Black have previously wondered at whether the plane’s central structure holding its two fuselages together would be strong enough to provide a stable flight. Looking at the picture at the link, I must wonder the same thing.

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3 comments

  • m d mill

    you have to wonder why there is no cross member between the tail sections, even if it was placed very high on the tails.
    The increase in structural strength would be enormous.

  • Chris

    Looking at this plane I wonder what part of the aircraft is the control point – ie when the aircraft is trying to hold a specific roll pitch and yaw – where is that measured? Are there two measurement points in each fuselage and these are translated to a “center” that is in the middle – in the air. This seems that it could be a little difficult.

  • pzatchok

    They are prbably hoping that onboard computers will stabilize the flight and keep the twisting to a minimun.

    Fail once and crash.

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