Billionaire Follies

Too much can be a negative. Look at Caligula doing crazier and crazier stuff  to find a new thrill.

Today’s Emperors – Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Google co-founder Sergey Brin are building, respectively, the world’s biggest plane and the world’s biggest airship.

Allen’s twin fuselage, six-engine ‘Stratolaunch’ is 238 feet long, 50 feet tall with a wingspan of 385 feet. Here it is:


Brin is building the world’s biggest airship – over 200 foot long – at a cost of over $100 million. It’s described as an ‘air yacht’.

We’ve seen bonkers billionaires, mostly Russians, vying with eachother to build the world’s biggest yacht, so the Allen-Brin thing is an entertaining variation on the follies with which plutocrats beguile us.



  1. You could argue its a better way of spending money and creating jobs than Angel Investors in the UK. We have a constant problem here of small tech firms founded by Angels who have little emotional interest in the businesses becoming successful. Tax dodge if they continue to lose money, if the odd one somehow becomes successful despite lack of capitalisation, Bingo.

  2. Good point Robetc, silly me. I should have realised those guys have an ulterior motive.

  3. Hate to be a wet blanket but a great many of those disposable dollars come straight out of avoided tax revenue that would otherwise help this and other country’s treasuries. All perfectlly legal, but………..
    Necessity has always been the mother of invention, these things are just mothers, full stop.

  4. Yes undeed AnotherDavid, Musk, Bezos, Branson, Allen and Brin all seem very swept up with wacky flying machines. Good luck to then all.

  5. Landing this plan must be interesting, don’t aim for the middle of the runway!
    Elon Musk is making quite a splash, (or not when the rockets land correctly) with his Paypal millions / billions, with I suspect a lot less than these guys have.

    • SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

      > don’t aim for the middle of the runway!

      That reminds me of the story about the two Swedish pilots coming in for landing at JFK for the first time. The pilot exclaimed it was the biggest air strip he had ever seen! You could hardly see both sides of the strip at the same time. The captain agreed but added it was also the shortest he had ever seen.

  6. I agree, DontAgree, billionaires should try to amuse us with outrageous spending. Just another yacht is boring.

  7. Interesting, to get from one fuselage to the other you need to do some wing walking … that might be a bit more challenging in the stratosphere … well at least if you can hold you breath long enough you have less wind resistance to fight with 🙂

    Personally I commend them for spending money this way, it certainly beats building yet another super yacht or worse keeping it stashed

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