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What is the heaviest single engine propeller-driven fixed-wing aircraft that's been produced & actually flown?

  • Experimental and one-of-a-kind aircraft count, as long as it has actually flown.
  • The maximum takeoff weight, as certified or designed, is the weight that counts (i.e. not merely empty weight, but with payload + fuel at the start of the flight).
  • Turboprops count, biplanes count, any timeframe (well, pre-1900 may be hard) and any country, civil or military.
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth noting there are single propeller aircraft driven by multiple engines. Does that count? And there are dual contra-rotating propellers driven by dual engines. Does that count? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Nov 28, 2023 at 11:59
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    $\begingroup$ @mins I'd be good with those - the characteristic I'm most interested in is having a single place on the aircraft with prop blades (i.e. on the nose, not on both wings or front+back), so the number of engines spinning the shaft or the presence of the contra-rotating prop aren't my main concerns. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Nov 28, 2023 at 16:14

2 Answers 2

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Possible candidates:

  • XF8B with MTOW 21,681 lbs (9,831 kg).

  • XF-84H? It's based on an airframe with MTOW of 27,000 lbs (12,247 kg) with a turboprop slapped on the front. Wikipedia claims a MTOW weight of 27,046 lbs (12,268 kg), but it's of questionable providence so I'm hesitant to claim it as fact.

  • Tu-91, MTOW 31,747 lb (14,400 kg). XTB2D, 34,760 lb (15,767 kg)

  • Grumman Mauler - once lifted payload of 10648 pounds of ordinance alone - empty weight listed as 15,257 lb (6,920 kg), gross weight listed as 25,737 lb (11,674 kg) -- but some heavier listed in comments above

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The Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster had a maximum take of weight of 16,194kg (35,702lbs). (Note - the later A variant had a couple of underwing jets, which took the mtow above 20,000kg.) It was powered by two Allison V-1710 engines each independently connected to one of the contra-rotating propellers. In an emergency, the entire rear assemblage could be explosively jettisoned.

XB-42 Mixmaster

There is the Douglas XTB2D Skypirate with a maximum take-off weight of 15,767kg (34,760 lbs). It had a single Pratt & Whitney XR-4360-8 supercharged 3000hp radial piston engine driving a pair of 14.3-foot diameter, contra-rotaing four-bladed propellers.

Douglas XTB2D Skypirate The first U.S. Navy Douglas XTB2D-1 Skypirate prototype (source)

Both these planes have contra-rotating propellers. For the largest plane with a single propeller, it may be the Linke-Hofmann R.II of 1917, with a gross weight of 12,000kg (26,455lbs) . It is said to have had the largest propeller ever flown, its four engines turning a single 6.90m (22 ft 7.5 in) diameter two-blade propeller at just 545rpm.

Linke-Hoffman R.II (source) looks normal until you notice the people

And... this one is a bit of a cheat, but also the Boeing JB-17G engine test-bed. Since the B-17G had an empty weight of around 17,000kg, it comfortably beats the other contenders. In flight its main engines were shut down, and it was flown with a single engine.

Boeing JB-17G

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  • $\begingroup$ The XB-42 hat two Allison 1710 engines mounted in its fuselage. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2023 at 12:24
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    $\begingroup$ @PeterKämpf true, but the op says "the number of engines spinning the shaft or the presence of the contra-rotating prop aren't my main concerns" so I think it counts! $\endgroup$
    – Party Ark
    Nov 29, 2023 at 12:37

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