Worlds Largest Aircrafts

  • What classifies an aircraft as being large by the FAA
  • Worlds largest fixed wing, rotary wing, and airships


The United States Federal Aviation Administration defines a large aircraft as any aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of over 12,500 pounds. The European Aviation Safety Agency defines a large aircraft as an aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 12,600 pounds or a multi-engine helicopter. There are three types of large aircrafts, fixed wing, rotary wing, and airships. The current heaviest fixed-wing aircraft is the Antonov An-225 with is categorized as a transport jet with a max takeoff weight of 250 tons. Some notable heavy fixed-wing aircrafts include the Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI which is the largest WWI aircraft and the Dornier Do X which is the longest, widest and heaviest flying boat in the world.

The largest rotary-wing category aircraft is the Aeroflot Mil V-12 which is the largest prototype helicopter with two thirty-five meter rotors. This helicopter has held eight world records, three of which are still current. The still current records include 2,255 m altitude with 40,000 kg payload, 2,255 altitude with 35,000 kg payload and 2,951 m altitude with 30,000 kg payload. This helicopter cold hold 6 crew members, and 196 passengers with a maximum weight capacity or 88,000 pounds and a max takeoff weight of 231,848 pounds.

The largest airship is the US Navy USS Akron which has a length of 239 m and a max volume of 180,000 cubic meters. This airship was a helium filled airship that operated between September 1931 and April 1933. Some notable airships are the LZ 129 Hindenburg which has the largest volume and is the Zeppelin II’s sister ship.

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