This is the design of the plane that wants to be the largest in history

(CNN) — There is a global energy crisis and onshore wind farms are a potential development option. Large wind turbines produce more energy than normal wind turbines, but their components are too large to be transported by road.

What is the solution? A Colorado-based energy startup called Radia has an idea. It is developing the largest airplane in the history of aviation.

This is the Windrunner aircraft, whose mission will be to deliver huge 90 meter long blades directly to wind farms.

To help the world meet its decarbonization goals, it will use sustainable aviation fuel and require only dirt or gravel runways to land.

Radia says it will operate from regional hubs, provide services where needed and “can land on runways shorter than 1,800 metres, which no other large commercial aircraft can achieve.”

Where do pilots go?  just above.  (Image: Radia)

Where do pilots go? just above. (Image: Radia)

Let’s talk about specifications

When it comes to transporting the largest payload ever transported by air, being delicate is not enough.

Therefore, the Windrunner will have a cargo volume of 7,700 cubic metres, which is enough to hold three Olympic swimming pools. It is 12 times the volume of the Boeing 747-400 and with a length of 108 metres, it is also 38 meters longer.

As far as span is concerned, it is 80 metres: imagine four bowling alleys put together.

It would also dwarf the Antonov An-225, the heaviest aircraft ever built, which was destroyed at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The scale of the aircraft may be revolutionary, but the engineering is not revolutionary, and that is by design. Radia says she is “focusing on existing technology and safety, where appropriate, proven FAA-approved aviation materials, components and manufacturing techniques are being used,” which are already being mass-produced. and which involve minimal risk.

The idea is to launch a fast, well-built fleet that meets aerospace industry standards. Online reports suggest commercial operations could begin in 2027, but no timeline has been confirmed on Radia’s website. CNN has contacted the company for comment.

Radia patented a system for loading blades on a Windrunner.  (Image: Radia)

Radia patented a system for loading blades on a Windrunner. (Image: Radia)

and there it goes

Radia is confident of research organization BloombergNEF’s estimate that US$10 trillion will be spent on onshore wind energy by 2050. The development of Windrunner will enable the construction of Radia’s partners’ XXL turbine GigaWind, which includes five of the six major turbines. Turbine manufacturers in the world.

Currently, turbine blades typically measure 70 meters or less, but Radia wants to deploy blades up to 104 meters long. The company says GigaWind turbines could be two to three times more powerful and two to three times more cost-effective than existing turbines.

Who is behind these ambitious claims? The founder and CEO is Mark Lundstrom, a multi-sector entrepreneur and MIT aerospace engineer who founded Radia in 2016. The company says its team of advisors includes former senior executives from Boeing, MIT, Rolls-Royce, and the FAA. Former US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

It’s an impressive lineup and the decision to focus on existing, safe technology is a smart decision. Could we see Windrunner launch before the end of the decade? Could its unique shape one day become as popular as the Beluga XL transport planes made by Airbus? Pay attention to the sky.


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