This past weekend, the Scaled test team successfully executed a low speed taxi test of the Stratolaunch aircraft. During this initial taxi test, the aircraft moved down the runway under its own power for the first time. These first test points have demonstrated the fundamental ability to control the aircraft speed and direction on the runway.
What is it like to move the world’s largest aircraft? Joe Sweat, Project Pilot, commented, “It was a lot less intimidating once we had it out there, in terms of how much runway we take up. From a visual standpoint, we had a lot more room than I was anticipating. Getting the airplane moving under its own power was really interesting – just seeing and feeling how the nose wheel steering reacts and how the brakes respond to the inputs.”
We have been working with Stratolaunch for the past five years designing, building, and testing the world’s largest aircraft. Paul Allen’s mission for Stratolaunch is developing an air launch platform to make access to space more convenient, reliable, and routine.
“Later taxi testing will include faster speeds and more challenging steering and braking tasks, all in preparation for first flight. It was exciting to see this magnificent machine on the runway for the first time!” said Brandon Wood, Test Conductor.