World’s largest plane makes first test flight

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This handout photograph obtained courtesy of Stratolaunch shows the Stratolaunch plane flying over the California desert, April 13, 2019, the first test flight of the US company's gigantic aircraft whose wingspan is almost half that of an Airbus A380. (AFP)
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This handout photograph obtained courtesy of Stratolaunch shows the Stratolaunch plane flying above the California desert, April 13, 2019, the first test flight of the US company's gigantic aircraft whose wingspan is almost half that of an Airbus A380. (AFP)
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The world's largest airplane, built by the late Paul Allen's company Stratolaunch Systems, makes its first test flight in Mojave, California, U.S. April 13, 2019. (REUTERS)
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The world's largest airplane, built by the late Paul Allen's company Stratolaunch Systems, makes its first test flight in Mojave, California, U.S. April 12, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 April 2019
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World’s largest plane makes first test flight

  • The aircraft is so big its wing span is longer than a football field, or about 1.5 times that of an Airbus A380

WASHINGTON: The world’s largest airplane — a Stratolaunch behemoth with two fuselages and six Boeing 747 engines — made its first test flight on Saturday in California.
The mega jet carried out its maiden voyage over the Mojave desert.
It is designed to carry into space, and drop, a rocket that would in turn ignite to deploy satellites.
It is supposed to provide a more flexible way to deploy satellites than vertical takeoff rockets because this way all you need is a long runway for takeoff.
It was built by an engineering company called Scaled Composites.
The aircraft is so big its wing span is longer than a football field, or about 1.5 times that of an Airbus A380.
Specifically, the wing span is 117 meters; that of an Airbus A380 is just under 80.
The plane flew Saturday for about two and a half hours, Stratolaunch said. Until now, it had just carried out tests on the ground.
It hit a top speed of 304 kilometers per hour (189 mph) and reached an altitude of 17,000 feet, or 5,182 meters.
“What a fantastic first flight,” said Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch.
“Today’s flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground launched systems,” he added.
Stratolaunch was financed by Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft as a way to get into the market for launching small satellites.
But Allen died in October of last year so the future of the company is uncertain.


Rapper 50 cent embraces Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah World Fest with playful name change tweet

The ‘Power’ star joked about changing his name to “50 HALALA.” (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2019
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Rapper 50 cent embraces Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah World Fest with playful name change tweet

DUBAI:  US rapper 50 Cent took Twitter by surprise as he teased fans with a joke about a potential name change.

The ‘Power’ star joked about changing his name to “50 HALALA.”

This was after the rapper was added to Jeddah World Fest’s line-up in Saudi Arabia.

Tweeps took to the cheeky tweet by storm, replying with warm messages like “welcome to Saudi 50 HALALA.”

Another Saudi fan wrote, “many thanks 50 Halala.”

The music sensation told his 10 million followers, “I been around the world a few times there’s no place [like] JEDDAH.”

He also shared his experience at the festival with excited fans and wrote, “I had a ball at Jeddah fest, kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The music festival is part of the Jeddah Season of activities which falls under the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTH) ambitious program of seasonal entertainment for the Kingdom.