Stratolaunch Lumbers on Toward First Flight

Recent taxi tests ramp up the speed of the world’s largest aircraft.

Mojave, California-based Stratolaunch Systems Corp has released a video showing good progress in the extensive taxi testing that precedes the upcoming first flight of the largest aircraft in the world by wingspan. The dual-fuselage, six-engine jet reached speeds up to 40 knots while cruising down Mojave Air and Space Port’s runway 30.

“The team verified control responses, building on the first taxi tests conducted in December,” said Stratolaunch’s founder Paul Allen in a tweet on Monday.

The runway is 12,503 feet long, providing plenty of space for the massive airplane to accelerate and decelerate during the testing. However, the wings of the Stratolaunch span way beyond the 200-foot wide runway. The Stratolaunch boasts a wingspan of 385 feet, nearly twice the width of the runway.