Gigantic new aircraft design aims to create the largest plane ever to fly

Gigantic new aircraft design aims to create the largest plane ever to fly - Business and Finance - News

WindRunner: The Game-Changing Airplane Revolutionizing Onshore Wind Energy Transportation

The ongoing global energy crisis has prompted an urgent need for innovative solutions, with onshore wind farms emerging as a promising growth option. However, larger wind turbines produce more power than standard ones, but their components are too large to be transported via road. Enter Radia, a Colorado-based energy startup with an audacious plan to address this challenge.

Radia is developing the WindRunner airplane, a groundbreaking aircraft designed to deliver gigantic 300-foot-long wind turbine blades directly to wind farms. This innovative solution not only aims to help the world meet its decarbonization targets but also uses sustainable aviation fuel and requires a simple packed-dirt or gravel runway for landing.

The WindRunner boasts an impressive cargo bay volume of 272,000 cubic feet – enough to accommodate three Olympic swimming pools. With a length of 356 feet and a wingspan of 261 feet (imagine four bowling lanes laid end to end), this aircraft dwarfs the Antonov An-225, the heaviest aircraft ever built.

Despite its groundbreaking scale, Radia’s engineering approach is not revolutionary. The company is focusing on existing technology and safety by utilizing tried-and-true aviation materials, components, and fabrication techniques that have FAA approval, are already in mass production, and pose the lowest risk.

Radia aims to hit the ground running with a fast, well-built fleet that meets aerospace industry standards. Commercial operations are predicted as early as 2027, but no official timeline is available on Radia’s Website. The company declined to comment on these reports when News Finder reached out for comment.

Radia’s ambitions are driven by the research organization Bloomberg NEF’s estimation that up to $10 trillion will be spent on onshore wind energy through 2050. WindRunner is intended to enable GigaWind, the XXL turbines developed by Radia’s partners – five of the world’s top six turbine manufacturers.

Current wind turbine blades are typically 230 feet or less, but Radia aspires to deploy blades up to 104 meters (341 feet). GigaWind turbines could potentially be two to three times more powerful and profitable than those currently in use.

Behind these ambitious claims is Mark Lundstrum, Radia’s founder and CEO, an entrepreneur and MIT aerospace engineer who founded the company in 2016. Radia’s team of advisors includes former top brass from Boeing, MIT, Rolls-Royce, and the FAA, as well as former US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull.

With such an impressive lineup, will we see a WindRunner take off before the end of the decade? Could its distinctive shape one day be as iconic as the Beluga XL transporter planes created by Airbus? Keep an eye on the skies.