The winner of the worlds largest plane contest is not really clear.  Aircraft come in so many shapes and sizes, designed for many various purposes, that there are different planes that fit different “largest” categories.   We will look at four of the contenders for the title of worlds largest plane here. 

Worlds Largest Plane - Spruce GooseCredit: PD -

 Longest Wings : The Spruce Goose, Hughes H-4 Hercules

 Started in World War II by Howard Hughes, the plan was to build a massive plane capable of moving two Sherman tanks at a time.  The plane was made out of wood, to conserve metals needed for other war items.  However, the troubles with building such a large plane out of wood, and the perfectionism of Howard Hughes delayed the project so long, that although started in 1942, the aircraft still was not finished by the end of the war in 1945. Hughes continued with the project and when came under criticism by the government for the delay.  While answering questions in Washington, he took a break and flew back to California for a test of the plane.  During the test, with Hughes at the controls, the pane took off and flew for about one mile. 

 The aircraft has a wingspan of 319 feet and 11 inches, making it the plane with the widest wingspan.

Worlds Largest Plane - Antonov An-225Credit:

 Longest Plane  – Tip to Tail – Antonov An-225

The Antonov An-225, was built in 1988 to carry the Buran Orbiter, the Soviet Union equivalent to the American Space Shuttle.  Only one was ever built, although a second was started, but never finished..  When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, so did their space program.  The orbiter was launched once into space in 1988, and then mothballed.  It later was destroyed in a hanger accident.  The An-225 was put into storage in 1994 also, but later restored to service.  Plans to finish the second plane have started and stopped several times. 

In the last several years the plane has flown many types of cargo, from war materials to relief aid.  It is hired by countries and governments from all over the world to move large items almost impossible to move in any other way.

 The Antonov An-225 measures out at 275 feet and 6 inches, making it the longest plane in the world.  It is also the aircraft with the largest Maximum Takeoff Weight. 


Worlds Largest Plane - Airbus A380Credit: PD -

 Tallest Aircraft – Airbus A380

 Manufactured by Airbus, and European company, the Airbus A380 is the tallest aircraft, coming in at 80 feet 3 inches.  It is the heaviest plane in production, with a maximum takeoff weight just eight percent less than the Antonov AN-225.  There are models in planning to increase the carrying capacity.  The A380 was designed to compete with the Boeing 747 and entered the large aircraft market in 2007.  It has almost 50% more floor space than the 747 and can carry 525-853 passengers, depending on the seating configuration. 

 Building of the aircraft to satisfy orders has been slow and delayed due to the complexity of building the large plane.  However, the planes that have been turned out are flying well, and plans are being made to improve the plane and offer even larger models.

Worlds Largest Plane - Boeing 747-8Credit:

 Longest Plane in production – Boeing 747

 Currently the longest airplane, the Boeing 747-8 at 250 feet 2 inches still holds the record for the longest plane in production.  The 747 first flew commercially way back in 1970, and the 747-8 is the fourth generation of this plane.  Offered in both passenger and freight designs, the plane is trying to use cost savings techniques to lower costs to compete with the A380. 


Worlds Largest Plane - Top 4(70438)

The 747, having been around and a dominant plane for so long, in 2007 transported about half of the world’s air freight.  With its new designs, Boeing hopes to hold onto its share of the market.

 The 747-8 is being considered as replacements for the United States presidential plane, Air Force One.  South Korea is also considering the 747-8 for its presidential transportation.


 These four planes are some of the planes that have been built.  Larger planes have been planned, but never got off the ground, in one way or another.  The worlds largest plane, whichever one above you think takes the title, is a wonder of man’s innovation.