'World's largest plane' completes first flight in California

The world's largest aeroplane, which has a wingspan almost as long as a football pitch, has completed its first ever flight.

The twin-fuselage six-engine Stratolaunch, which has a wingspan of 117m (384ft), flew for two hours over the Mojave Desert in California, reaching a top speed of 189mph.

The jet hit altitudes of up to 17,000 feet and landed safely back at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

The aircraft reached a top speed of 189mph in the skies above California. Credit: AP

Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch, called the fear a "fantastic first flight".

She added the aircraft made a "spectacular" landing and said it was amazing to "watch this majestic bird take flight."

The jet is designed to release rockets attached to the centre of its enormous wings.

The Stratolaunch jet reached altitudes of up to 17,000 feet. Credit: AP

Stratolaunch was established by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011.

The company is vying to make access into orbit more accessible and "as routine as catching a commercial airline flight is today", its website claims.

“We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today’s historic achievement,” the late billionaire's sister, Jody Allen, said.

"The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and we congratulate everyone involved.”