There is a global energy crisis and onshore wind farms are a potential growth option. Larger wind turbines produce more electricity than standard wind turbines, but the components are too large to be transported by road.

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

Meet the WindRunner aircraft, whose mission will be to deliver gigantic, 300-foot-long blades directly to wind farms.

To help the world meet its decarbonization goals, it will use sustainable aviation fuel and will only require a simple runway of solid soil or gravel to land.

According to Radia, it will operate from regional hubs and deliver where it is needed – and “can land on runways as short as 6,000 feet (1,800 meters), something no other large commercial aircraft can achieve.”

Let’s talk specs, baby

When it comes to carrying the largest payloads ever carried by air, Dainty is simply not the solution.

As a result, WindRunner will have a cargo space volume of 272,000 cubic feet, enough for three Olympic-sized swimming pools. That’s twelve times the volume of a Boeing 747-400 and, at 356 feet long, 127 feet longer.

The wingspan is 261 feet – imagine four bowling alleys lined up end to end.

It will also dwarf the Antonov An-225, the heaviest aircraft ever built, which was destroyed at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The size of the aircraft may be groundbreaking, but the technology is not – and that is intentional. Radia says it is “focused on existing technology and safety by using proven aviation materials, components and manufacturing techniques with FAA where applicable.” [U.S. Federal Aviation Administration] approval, are already in mass production and pose the lowest risk.”

The idea is to hit the ground running with a fast, well-built fleet that meets aerospace industry standards. Online reports suggest commercial operations will begin as early as 2027, but there is no confirmed timeline on Radia’s website. CNN has reached out to the company for comment.

Where are the pilots going? At the top. (Radia via CNN Newsource)

Then she blows

Radia relies on research organization Bloomberg NEF’s estimate that up to $10 trillion will be spent on onshore wind energy by 2050. The development of WindRunner is intended to enable GigaWind, the XXL turbines from Radia’s partners, which include five of the top six turbine manufacturers in the world.

Currently, turbine blades are typically 230 feet or less (70 meters) long, but Radia wants to deploy blades up to 104 meters (341 feet) long. The company says GigaWind turbines could potentially be two to three times more powerful and two to three times more profitable than turbines commonly used today.

So who are the people behind these ambitious claims? The founder and CEO is Mark Lundstrum, a cross-industry entrepreneur and MIT aerospace engineer who founded Radia in 2016. The company says its advisory team includes former top executives from Boeing, MIT, Rolls-Royce and the FAA, as well as former US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The offering is impressive and the decision to focus on secure, existing technology is a smart one. Could we see a WindRunner launch before the end of the decade? Could its distinctive shape one day be as popular as that Beluga XL Airbus transport aircraft? Watch the sky.

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