- Roc stood aloft for more than three hours
- The second flight has been deemed as a success by Stratolaunch as it achieved major test objectives
- Stratolaunch further plans to groom Roc for air-launching hypersonic vehicles
Roc is the world’s biggest carrier plane ever made
The world’s gigantic airplane successfully accomplished its second flight on April 29, 2021, two years subsequent to the completion of its first flight. Founded by late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen, Stratolaunch aerospace company conducted the second flight test of the world’s biggest plane ever made at about 7 in the morning and reported its achievement on Twitter.
The tweet read, “We are airborne!”
Roc: World’s biggest ever plane
Operated by the name Roc, named after the giant bird from Arabian and Persian mythology, the takeoff was recorded from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port at 7:28 am PT, marking its first flight since Stratolaunch’s acquisition by Cerberus Capital Management in October 2019. The plane undertook its first fight on 13 April, 2019.
Roc flew as high as 14,000 feet above the ground while flying at a speed of 199 mph. The plane stood aloft in the air for about 3 hours and 14 minutes, which accounts to be close to an hour longer than its previous flight. The second flight has been deemed as a success by the aerospace company. During Roc’s first flight, the plane had attained a maximum speed of 189 mph while flying at the maximum altitude of 17,000 feet.
The iconic flight
During a news conference organised post, the flight succession, Stratolaunch chief operating officer Zachary Krevor said, “We’re very pleased with how the Stratolaunch aircraft performed today, and we are equally excited about how much closer the aircraft is to launching its first hypersonic vehicle.” He further added that the second flight accomplished all the test objectives by checking the performance of improved instrumentation, a more robust flight control system and an environmental control system that allowed the pilots to work in a pressurized cockpit
He further quotes about the flight’s most exciting moment was noticed during the touchdown, when one of Roc’s landing gears hit the ground while the other one was in the air. “We did touch down initially on one gear, but that’s exactly the technique we prefer to use during a crosswind landing,” Krevor commented. “Though we stayed within our crosswind limits, we did have a little bit of a crosswind, and the aircrew did an excellent job of bringing the aircraft down.”
As reported by Krevor, the crew included chief pilot Evan Thomas, pilot Mark Giddings and flight engineer Jake Riley.
Stratolaunch aerospace company
The aerospace company was established in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who passed away in October 2018. The company was established with the vision to use Roc for satellite launching in mid-air. Roc did not undertake its first (test) flight until 2019 and the second one on April 30, 2021.
Since Roc’s first flight, Stratolaunch’s business model has improved. During its early years, the aerospace company used to focus on using Roc as a flying launchpad to send rockets and payloads to orbit. The concept capitalized on the air launch system which was pioneered by SpaceShipOne. The new owners, nevertheless, still focus on using Roc for air launching, but the current focus has been centralised towards grooming Roc for air-launching hypersonic vehicles.