If you were to travel back in time and tell the people of the 1700s that there would be vehicles that could fly up the sky like birds and could transport hundreds of people, they’d probably think you’re a witch and burn you on a stake.

As they say, something is impossible until somebody does it. Since the Wright Brothers successfully flew their Kitty Hawk on that historical day of December 17, 1903, we’ve gone so far in testing the limit of what we could and could not do with our aircraft. Apart from creating the fastest planes, we could ever do, one of our fascinations was producing the largest ones. Here are some of the largest military aircraft made so far.

Convair B-36 Peacemaker

Not only is the Peacemaker a gigantic aircraft, but it also holds the title of the largest mass-produced piston engine aircraft ever to fly. That’s just one because it also has the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft, measuring 230 feet (70 meters), the first truly intercontinental bomber, and the very first bomber to carry any of the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal without any modifications.

Convair B-36 Peacemaker. (U.S. Air Force photo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

This strategic bomber was built by Convair and used by the United States Air Force from 1949 to 1959. It has a range of 10,000 miles and a maximum payload of 87,200 pounds, thus the reason why it could go on an intercontinental flight without having to refuel. If you’re wondering how this 200-ton giant thing could fly, it was because of the six Pratt & Whitney 28-cylinder radial engines that produced 3,800 horsepower each, plus four more General Electric turbojet engines.

The B-36 used to be the primary nuclear weapons delivery vehicle of the Strategic Air Command until the jet-powered Boeing B-52 Stratofortress took its place starting in 1955.

Caspian Sea Monster

Although the Korabl Market (KM) was not strictly an aircraft, this experimental ground effect vehicle developed in the Soviet Union was the most prominent and heaviest aircraft for twenty years, from 1966 to 1988. The Central Hydrofoil Design Bureau conceived the Caspian Sea Monster, as it was colloquially known, in the 1960s.

When the United States discovered its existence through a spy plane, attempts were made to determine its purpose, and some espionage circled through it during the Cold War era.