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List of large aircraft

A size comparison of five of the largest airplanes:

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 lb (5,700 kg) [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]


In Service
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) ever entering operational service.
Airbus A300-600ST "Beluga" 13 September 1994 An A300-600 wide-body airliner modified to carry aircraft parts and oversized cargo.
Airbus A330-743L "Beluga XL" 19 July 2018 An A330 wide-body airliner modified to carry aircraft parts and oversized cargo.
Airbus A380-800 [3] 27 April 2005 The largest passenger aircraft ever made. Capable of carrying 850 passengers.
Airbus A340-600 23 April 2001 The A340-600, at 75.30 m, was the longest commercial aircraft from 2001 until 2010 when it was surpassed by the Boeing 747-8.
Antonov An-124 26 December 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 747-8 8 February 2010 (F variant) Lengthened version of 747 with increased wingspan. World's longest passenger aircraft at 76.4 m (0.9 m / 3 ft longer than the Airbus A340-600).[4] Capacity of 650 passengers.
Boeing 747[5] 9 February 1969 Highest-capacity passenger aircraft until surpassed by Airbus A380
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))
Tupolev Maksim 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.
Antonov An-2 31 August 1947 Largest mass-produced single-engine biplane.
Antonov An-225, largest [6] airplane to date


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 1946. Heaviest aircraft built during World War II, and largest aircraft produced by any of the Axis powers in World War II
Douglas XB-19[7] 27 June 1941 This experimental aircraft was the largest US bomber until 1946 when the Northrop YB-35 flew.
Boeing B-29 Superfortress[8] 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[9] 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 World War II 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 among 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, largest supersonic aircraft and largest swept-wing aircraft ever built.
Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI Circa 1916 Largest aircraft to see regular squadron service (in 1917) in World War I

Experimentals and prototypes

Aircraft First flight Note
Bristol Brabazon[10] 4 September 1949 A giant luxurious airliner in which each passenger was given the space of the interior of a small car. There was no commercial interest 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.[11]
Ekranoplan KM 16 October 1966 The ekranoplan had wingspan of 37.6 m, length - 92 m, maximum takeoff 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 2 November 1947 Heaviest 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 until April 2019, when the Stratolaunch took its first flight. Only one was ever built and it performed only one short test flight. Commonly known as the "Spruce Goose".
Junkers Ju 390 20 October 1943 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.
Kalinin K-7 11 August 1933 Prototype seven-engined transport for civil or military use.
North American XB-70 Valkyrie 21 September 1964 Prototype Mach 3 strategic bomber. Maximum takeoff weight 542,000 lb (246 tonnes).
Stratolaunch [12] 13 April 2019[13] Stratolaunch is an aircraft currently in development in Mojave, CA, first shown on 1 June 2017. With a wingspan of 385 ft (117 m), it is the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan and the largest all-composite aircraft ever built. It is designed as an aerial launch platform, capable of lifting orbital launch vehicles weighing up to 550,000 lb (250 t) to an altitude of 45,000 ft (14,000 m) with a maximum takeoff weight of 1,300,000 lb (590 t)[14].

Projects and designs

Aircraft Design or Conception Note
Aerocon Dash 1.6 wingship 1990s proposal Proposed 5,000-ton ground effect aircraft to be developed in the USA with Russian consultation.
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.[15]
Beriev Be-2500 1980s proposal Would be the largest aircraft ever, if built; development started in the 1980s
Beriev Be-5000 1980s proposal An improvement over the Be-2500 design with twin fuselages. MTOW of 5000 tonnes.
Boeing RC-1 1970s proposal Proposed before the 1973 oil crisis. A tanker for transporting oil from Alaska.
Boeing New Large Airplane 1990s proposal Planned as a replacement for the 747, to be powered by the same engines used on the 777. Project canceled in the 1990s due to the airline industry's lack of interest for very large aircraft.
Boeing Pelican 2002 proposal Ground effect and medium altitude transporter for military airlift and commercial cargo, using conventional airports.
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 747, project canceled in mid-1990s
TsAGI HCA-LB 2010s proposal Proposed 1,000-metric ton ground effect aircraft powered by cryogenic liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Tupolev Tu-404 1990s proposal Proposal for a blended wing body passenger transport capable of carrying 1214 passenger over a distance of 12,000-13,000 kilometers. Flying wing proposal would have had a wingspan of 360 feet (110 meters).[16]
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.
Poll Triplane Circa 1917 Proposed triplane with the center wing spanning 50 meters and the lower and upper wings spanning 31 meters. Not complete by the time of the Armistice.[17]
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.[18]
Skylon current Proposed 345-tonne reusable spaceplane
Boeing 747X 1996 proposal, never built As word about Airbus's new A3XX got around, the Boeing company proposed a direct competitor, which was a proposed stretch to the 747-400. The family would have consisted of the 747-500x and the 747-600x. The project was cancelled due to a projected drop in demand for large jets in the coming decades.

Helicopters and rotary-wing aircraft

Aircraft First flight[Note 1] Note
Mil Mi-26 14 December 1977 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 19 March 1989 One of the largest (27 tonnes) VTOL aircraft and the first operational tiltrotor
Mil Mi-10 15 June 1960 Heavy-lift "skycrane" developed from Mi-6, 114 ft rotor, 43 tonne MTOW
Mil V-12 or Mi-12 10 July 1968 Largest helicopter ever built; not put into production. 2 × 114 ft rotors, 105 tonnes MTOW.
Sikorsky Sea King 11 March 1959 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.


Hindenburg airship compared with the largest fixed-wing aircraft.
Aircraft First flight Note
HM Airship R100 16 December 1929 220 m, 146,000 m3
HM Airship R101 14 October 1929 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 8 August 1931 239 m, 180,000 m3 US Navy airship and largest helium-filled airship.
USS Macon 23 June 1933 Sister ship to Akron
LZ 129 Hindenburg 4 April 1936 245 m, 200,000 m3 Largest volume aircraft ever flown, but only 215 tonnes.
LZ130 Graf Zeppelin II 14 September 1938 Sister ship to LZ 129 Hindenburg
U.S. Navy ZPG-3W July 1958 Largest-ever United States Navy non-rigid airship, 1,011,000 cubic feet (23,648 cubic meters) envelope volume.
Hybrid Air Vehicles HAV 304 Airlander 10 17 August 2016 Largest-ever non-rigid airship/aircraft to fly, 92m 38,000 m3 (1,300,000 cu ft) envelope volume.
Varialift designs Designed Up to 3000 tonne payload.

See also



  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 (PDF). 13 January 2012. p. 4. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  3. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 140-149.
  4. ^ "Commercial Airplanes - 747 - Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and 747-8 Freighter". Boeing. Archived from the original on 1 July 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  5. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 124-130.
  6. ^ "World's biggest plane Antonov An-225 Mriya lands in Hyderabad". The Economic Times. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  7. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 10-11.
  8. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 56-57.
  9. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 82-83.
  10. ^ Kaplan 2005, p. 115-121.
  11. ^ Miller, J.; The X-Planes, Speciality Press (1983)
  12. ^ "Stratolaunch". Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  13. ^ []
  14. ^ []
  15. ^ "A380-900 and freighter both on 'back-burner': Enders". Flight International. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  16. ^ ""404" Tupolev".
  17. ^ Gunston, Bill, 1991. Giants of the Sky: The Largest Aeroplanes of All Time. Sparkford, UK: Patrick Stephens Limited.
  18. ^ Buttler, Tony. Secret Projects: British Fighters and Bombers 1935 -1950 Midland Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-85780-179-2.


External links