Large, modern multi-engine airplanes do mostly have the 'tricycle' landing gear type. But it hasn't always be the norm. I remember at least one big plane with 'conventional landing gear', the German four-engined FW 200 'Condor'...

But, was it the largest of them all...?

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ How is largest defined? MTOW? $\endgroup$
    – Koyovis
    Nov 8, 2017 at 11:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Possibly Asiana 214. Granted, it wasn't supposed to be a tail dragger. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Nov 9, 2017 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ What is a taildragger/tricycle landing gear/conventional landing gear? $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2017 at 17:44

3 Answers 3


If you are going by MTOW, I believe that would be the Junkers Ju 390, which had a maximum takeoff weight of 75,500 kg.

Ju 390

Junkers Ju 390, By Bundesarchiv, Bild 141-0072 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, Link

Sadly, only a couple of these were built. If you are going by the wingspan, that would be the Tupolev ANT-20 'Maksim Gorki', which had a wingspan of 63m

Maksim Gorki

ANT-20, By Unknown - http://www.dkvnukovo.ru/photos/museum/photos/35.jpg, Public Domain, Link

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ They could have fitted probably 8 more people in if they had put seats and windows in those awesome wheel nacelles. Probably no trolley service though. Cattle class for sure. $\endgroup$
    – Wossname
    Nov 8, 2017 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Wossname: Most modern planes have huge empty spaces in the fuselage, which is already pressured. Those nacelles are most certainly not pressurized! I believe that most aircraft carrying capacity limits are due to mass (weight), not volume. $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Nov 8, 2017 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ @dotancohen, I have much to learn. $\endgroup$
    – Wossname
    Nov 8, 2017 at 15:12
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Wossname: Then I'm in good company, and we're both in the right place! $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Nov 8, 2017 at 15:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That Art Deco fuselage on the ANT-20 is pretty slick $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Nov 9, 2017 at 1:27

I nominate the Tupolev ANT-20, with a wing span of 63.00 m (206 ft 8¼ in), an empty weight of 28,500 kg (62,700 lb), and a MTOW of 53,000 kg (116,600 lb).

2 were built, first flight was 1934.

enter image description here
(tupolev.ru) Note the two engines above the fuselage.


I nominate the XB-15 heavy bomber prototype.

  • Wing span 45.43 m
  • Max. TO weight 32,139 kg

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Better looking than mine :D $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Nov 8, 2017 at 11:06
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @ymb1 Yes but the production run of yours was 100% higher. $\endgroup$
    – Koyovis
    Nov 8, 2017 at 11:07
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    $\begingroup$ Oh c'mon Gorki looks great! :) $\endgroup$
    – PeterM
    Nov 8, 2017 at 12:29

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