Incredible new £784m plane will be world’s biggest and carry 12 times more than 747

The Radia WindRunner has been built to transport parts of wind turbines used to generate renewable electricity.

For decades the Boeing 747 was the undisputed Queen of the skies, as the aircraft took passengers and cargo around the world.

Alongside Concorde, it was one half of an iconic aerial duo.

However, the age of the double-decker Airbus A380 stole its crown and a few years ago it was pulled from passenger flights altogether, ending an era of air travel.

Now, there is a brand new aircraft which will be able to carry a payload 12 times larger than the 747 was able to. Known as the WindRunner, it is being developed by start-up Radia.

The plane has been designed to solve a problem in the renewable energy sector, transporting wind turbines.

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It is currently very difficult to move the large blades needed for the turbines long distances. Most of the time they have to go by sea, but the WindRunner solves this problem with a cargo bay large enough to fit the blades.

The aircraft will be around 365ft long and 79ft tall, longer than the football pitch at Wembley Stadium in London.

If the WindRunner is built it will become one of the largest aircraft on the planet, much larger than any current military aircraft with a capacity of 80 tonnes.

One of the people behind the project, scientist Mark Lundsrom, has spent several years designing the aircraft.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Radia has so far raised $104million (£81.64million) and is currently valued at $1billion (£784m) according to PitchBook.

If all goes well, production of the aircraft could begin as early as 2027 and help wind energy contribute more to the world’s growing desire for renewable energy.

Speaking about the power of wind, Radia said: “Wind energy can meet this need for consistent low-cost clean energy. It achieves this because it combines a relatively high capacity factor with low-cost power.

“This makes it great for traditional grid as well as non-grid applications such as data centres, and for the production of green molecules such as green hydrogen, green ammonia and sustainable aviation fuel. It will play a major role in all these applications.”

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With thousands of miles of coastline, the UK is well-placed to take advantage of wind power to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. A recent report by RenewableUk suggests the UK is in a strong position to secure new wind power deals.

Chief executive of RenewableUK Dan McGrail told the i: “The Government has to strengthen the UK’s energy security, with a record number of new offshore wind farms eligible to bid into this year’s clean power auction, and a record amount of new capacity.

“As offshore wind farms are one of our cheapest sources of new power for billpayers, we are urging ministers to be ambitious when they set out the auction budget and ­parameters next month.”

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