Aircraft come in all shapes and sizes, yet there are a few categories that really capture our imagination. Military aircraft, cargo planes, flying boats and monstrous passenger planes – these really get people interested and have us heading off to museums and airshows to catch a glimpse of some impressive planes. While biggest may not always be best, in the world of aircraft, the biggest and heaviest can really grab our attention. These following 10 aircraft are just plain massive – yet they all set records when they took to the air.
We’ll head back to World War Two Germany and look at the hefty BV-238, the largest flying boat to be built during the war. Only a few years later, Howard Hughes took the crown for building the largest flying boat ever with the impressive Spruce Goose. From the Cold War to today, the backbone of the US bomber fleet has been the B-52. It continues to be the heaviest US bomber. In terms of production cargo planes, no one can beat the Antonov An-124. Heading back to World War Two, we’ll surprise you with the Junkers Ju-390 – it was the largest land-based plane to fly during the war. During the Cold War, the US developed the XB-70. This Mach 3 bomber only made it to the prototype stage but in sheer size, this thing was massive. In a bit of an “anything you can do, we can do better” move, the Russians developed their own fast bomber, the Tu-160 which remains the heaviest combat aircraft in operation today. Of course, even the Tu-160 pales in comparison to the Antonov An-225. This thing is the heaviest plane around today, period. Don’t get too carried away because the Russians also developed a strange experimental plane decades ago. The MK Ekranoplan was a secret project that produced a strange and massive vehicle often referred to as the Caspian Sea Monster. Technically a ground-effects craft, we’ll include it because it did lift off of the ground. Finally, we’ll end off with the heaviest passenger plane. Unsurprisingly, this title belongs to the A380 which still amazes people every time it successfully lifts off the ground.