Ever since our ancient ancestors looked up to the birds flying and longed to emulate that flight, humans have been fascinated by getting up above the clouds. From the early attempts by the Wright Brothers to the planes that can reach the very limits of space and orbit the Earth, flight is a dream for many. To celebrate our love of aviation, here are some incredible record breaking planes:
Biggest Ever Biplanes – The Curtiss Company built 4 planes in 1918 for the US Navy. Their wingspan was 126 feet, they weighed 12,000kg and were 68 feet long. They were called NC-4 and had a top speed of 86mph. They were designed as anti-submarine long-range planes but the war ended before they ever came into service.
Biggest Amphibious Plane – The Russian Beriev A-40 ‘Albatross’ is the largest amphibious aircraft in the world. It is able to land and take off on land or water and was used for military operations, search and rescue missions and cargo transportation. On construction in 1986, it broke 148 world records.
First Electric Aircraft – In December 2006 across the Alps, a wood and fabric single seater aircraft managed to fly for 48 minutes around the Alps and was powered by a motor that is most often used for powering golf carts!
Longest Distance Travelled By Commercial Plane – A Boeing 777 200LR Worldliner flew 13,422 miles without stopping to refuel between London and Hong Kong on 10th November 2005. It took 22 hours and 42 minutes and marked the longest flight in a non-modified commercial plane.
Biggest Aircraft By Weight – 640 tonnes is the weight of the Antonov AN-225’s maximum take-off weight. It was originally 600 tonnes but in 2001, the floor was strengthened to increase its maximum take-off weight to 640 tonnes. Now that’s a serious behemoth! Imagine the amount of sheet metal that needed to be fabricated to construct one of these beasts. For more details on Bending Machines used in metal fabrication, go to a site like www.cotswold-machinery-sales.co.uk/euromac/horizontal-bending-machines/
First Solo Circumnavigation of the Earth – This impressive record was set by Wiley Post of the U.S who between 15th and 22nd July 1933 flew around the globe in a Lockheed Vega beginning and ending in New York. The total journey distance was 15,596 miles.
Fastest Commercial Aircraft – The SpaceshipTwo Unity belonging to Virgin Galactic is the official fastest commercial aircraft in the world. In July 2021, the craft reached impressive speeds of 2214 mph at an altitude of 40km whilst carrying 2 crew and 4 passengers.
Biggest Aircraft Storage Facility – The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) in Arizona, United States is the largest storage facility covering 2,600 acres. There is room for 4,000 planes, 40 aerospace vehicles, 350,000 lines of production tools. Old aircraft are stripped for parts, others are sold to other countries and some are put back into service to be used for target practice for the military.