Aircraft with wingspans of 50 meters or more

Last revised: 26 August 2001

rank

name

span

nation

flew

built

remarks

1

Hughes H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose"

97.54

USA

1947

1

8-prop flying boat transport

2

Antonov An-225 Mriya

88.39

USSR

1988-96?

1

6-jet mod. of An-124 for shuttle

3

AeroVironment Helios

75.30

USA

1999+

1

14-solar-prop unmanned research

4

Antonov An-124 Ruslan

73.30

USSR/Ukr

1982+

c.60+

4-jet heavy cargo transport

5

Consolidated Vultee B-36 Peacemaker

70.10

USA

1946-59

383

6-prop & 4-jet strategic bomber

(tie)

Consolidated Vultee XC-99

70.10

USA

1947-57

1

6-prop transport mod. of B-36

(tie)

Bristol Type 167 Brabazon I

70.10

UK

1949-53

1

8-prop luxury airliner

8

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

67.88

USA

1968+

131

4-jet heavy military transport

9

Mil Mi-12

67.00

USSR

1968-69?

2 or 3

4-jet 2-rotor transport helicopter

10

Saunders-Roe S.R. 45 Princess

66.90

UK

1952-?

3

10-turboprop flying boat airliner

11

Antonov An-22 Antheus

66.40

USSR

1965+

66

4-turboprop heavy transport

12

Douglas XB-19

64.62

USA

1941-46

1

4-prop heavy bomber

13

Boeing 747-400

64.40

USA

1969+

1255+

4-jet heavy widebody airliner

(tie)

Boeing YAL-1 Attack Laser

64.40

USA

2000+

1+

anti-missile laser cannon on 747

15

Tupolev ANT-20 Maxim Gorki

63.63

USSR

1934-35

1

8-prop propaganda mod. of TB-4

16

Tupolev ANT-20 bis (PS-124?)

63.00

USSR

1938-40

1?

6-prop improved ANT-20

17

Consolidated Vultee YB-60

62.78

USA

1952-54

2

8-jet major modification of B-36

18

AeroVironment Centurion

62.50

USA

1998+

1

14-solar-prop unmanned research

19

Junkers Ju 322 Mammut

62.35

Germany

1941

2

heavy transport assault glider

20

Martin JRM Mars

60.96

USA

1942+

6

4-prop flying boat cargo/waterbomber

21

Boeing 777

60.90

USA

1994+

321+

2-jet heavy widebody airliner

22

Airbus A340

60.30

Europe

1991+

194+

4-jet heavy widebody airliner

(tie)

Airbus A330

60.30

Europe

1992+

178+

2-jet modification of A340

24

Blohm und Voss BV 238

60.17

Germany

1944

1

6-prop flying boat transport

25

Ilyushin Il-96M

60.10

USSR/Rus

1993+

c.16+

4-jet heavy widebody airliner

26

Boeing E-4 AWACS

59.64

USA

1973+

4

electronic warfare mod. of 747

27

Boeing VC-25 "Air Force One"

59.64

USA

1990+

2

VIP version of 747

28

Lockheed R6VConstitution

57.64

USA

1946-55

2

4-prop double-deck transport

29

Latécoerè Laté 631

57.43

France

1942-53?

8

6-prop flying boat airliner

30

Grob Strato 2C

56.50

Germany

1995-96?

1?

2-prop high-altitude research

31

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

56.39

USA

1952+

763

8-jet heavy strategic bomber

32

Tupolev Tu-85

56.00

USSR

1951-58

2

4-prop heavy bomber

33

Tupolev Tu-160

55.70

USSR

1981+

34

4-jet swingwing strategic bomber

34

Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant

55.00

Germany

1941-45

200

heavy transport glider

(tie)

Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant

55.00

Germany

1941-45

198

6-prop modification of Me 321

36

Douglas C-133 Cargomaster

54.76

USA

1956-71

50?

4-turboprop heavy transport

37

Tupolev TB-4 (ANT-16)

54.00

USSR

1933-?

few

6-prop bomber

38

Myasishchev VM-T Atlant

53.60

USSR

1981+

3?

bulk cargo carrier version of M-6

39

Myasishchev M-6 Molot (3M)

53.14

USSR

1956-94

83

enlarged M-4

40

Douglas C-124 Globemaster II

53.04

USA

1949-73?

448

enlarged C-74

41

Kalinin K-7

53.00

USSR

1933

1

6-prop flying wing heavy bomber

42

Douglas C-74 Globemaster I

52.81

USA

1945-56

14

4-prop heavy transport

43

Northrop B-35 Flying Wing

52.42

USA

1946-49?

9?

4-prop bomber

(tie)

Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing

52.42

USA

1947-50?

3

8-jet (one had 6) mod. of B-35

45

SNCASE SE 200 (LeO H. 49)

52.20

France

1942-46?

2

6-prop flying boat transport

46

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit

52.12

USA

1989+

21

4-jet stealth bomber

47

Boeing 767-400ER

51.90

USA

1999+

18+

2-jet heavy widebody airliner

48

McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III

51.74

USA

1991+

64+

4-jet military transport

49

McDonnell Douglas MD-11

51.70

USA

1990+

199

modification of DC-10

50

Tupolev Tu-126 (Tu-24?) AWACS

51.40

USSR

1968-89?

8 - 12

electronic warfare mod of Tu-114

51

Tupolev Tu-95 (Tu-20)

51.10

USSR/Rus

1952+

c.430?

4-turboprop bomber/patrol

(tie)

Tupolev Tu-114

51.10

USSR

1957-71?

c.30

airliner version of Tu-95

(tie)

Tupolev Tu-116

51.10

USSR

1958-61?

2

VIP version of Tu-95

(tie)

Tupolev Tu-142

51.10

USSR/Rus

1968+

c.30?

anti-sub/patrol mod. of Tu-95

55

Tupolev MK-1 (ANT-22)

51.00

USSR

1934-36

1

6-prop 2-fuselage flying boat

56

Myasishchev M-4 Molot (2M)

50.53

USSR

1953-89

10

4-jet heavy bomber/tanker

57

Ilyushin Il-76

50.50

USSR/Uzb

1971+

c.900

4-jet heavy transport

(tie)

Beriev A-50 Shmel AWACS

50.50

USSR/Rus

1978+

c40+?

electronic warfare mod. of Il-76

(tie)

Ilyushin Il-78

50.50

USSR/Uzb

1987+

few+?

tanker/waterbomber mod. of Il-76

(tie)

Baghdad-1

50.50

Iraq

?

1?

electronic warfare mod. of Il-76

(tie)

Adnan

50.50

Iraq

?

3

upgraded Baghdad-1

62

McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30/40

50.40

USA

1972+

248

3-jet heavy widebody airliner

(tie)

McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender

50.40

USA

1980+

60

military tanker version of DC-10

64

Junkers Ju 390

50.32

Germany

1943-45

2

6-prop heavy transport/patrol

65

Lockheed L-1011-500 TriStar

50.09

USA

1978+

50

3-jet heavy widebody airliner

Notes: This list includes all airplanes with a wingspan of 50 meters or more that actually flew. This list does not include lighter-than-air craft or spacecraft, although it does include one helicopter.

Span is the distance in meters from wingtip to wingtip, or in the case of the Mi-12 helicopter, from the left edge of the left rotor disk to the right edge of the right rotor disk. There is a great deal of inconsistency in the reported wingspan for many airplanes, especially older planes and Soviet aircraft. For example, the correct wingspans for the Tu-95, Tu-114, Tu-116, Tu-126, and Tu-142 (which are all basically the same airframe) are a brain-numbing maze of contradictions. However, even well-known modern Western types often have this problem; the wingspan for the DC-10-30/40 is listed as 50.00, 50.25, 50.30, 50.39, 50.40, and 50.41 meters, depending on the source. The figures listed here are just my best guesses based on the information I was able to obtain. Remember that .01 meters is less than half an inch.

Nation is where the plane was built (or modified into a new design such as the Baghdad-1 and Adnan). Ukr is Ukraine, who took over the production of the An-124 when the USSR collapsed; likewise Rus is Russia and Uzb is Uzbekistan.

Flew indicates the years in which the plane was operated. If the dates are followed by a + symbol, that plane is still flying today (yes, two Martin Mars flying boats are still fighting forest fires in British Columbia). There is considerable confusion about the correct dates for many early aircraft, especially Soviet planes; major uncertainties are shown with ?.

Built is the number of planes constructed. These numbers are often very hard to locate, even for well-known airplanes; the ? symbol shows the most uncertain cases. The + symbol indicates the plane is still in production today.

Remarks lists the number of engines; prop indicates a piston-based reciprocating engine; solar-prop is a small solar-powered electric motor driving a propeller.

In some cases, the aircraft listed is a subtype whose wingspan differs from its sister types that are otherwise very similar or nearly identical. I have adjusted the list accordingly. For example, all Boeing 747s have wingspans of more than 50 meters, so the dates flown and number built are for all 747s, even though only the 747-400 has the 64.40-meter span. On the other hand, most Boeing 767s fall below the 50-meter cutoff, so the figures listed are only for the 51.90-meter 767-400ER (of which only 18 have been built as of early 2001).

Written by Michael Trout

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