Airlander 10 airship: World's largest aircraft gets off the ground

Giant vehicle expected to herald new generation of airships

Will Worley
Tuesday 22 March 2016 18:23
Comments
The Airlander 10 airship was tethered as it hovered in its hangar
The Airlander 10 airship was tethered as it hovered in its hangar

The world’s largest aircraft has left the ground for the first time.

The Airlander 10 floated several feet off the ground while tethered at it hangar, in Cardington, Bedfordshire.

Its maiden flight is due in several weeks time.

The brief lift-off at its official unveiling was designed to test the performance of the new generation airship when taking off, gliding and landing.

The Airlander 10 - part plane, part airship and part helicopter - is longer than a football pitch at 92 metres long, and only slightly narrower at 44 metres wide.

It is 26 metres high and weighs 20 tons. In comparison, the biggest passenger jets are around 77 metres long.

The Airlander 10 - part plane, part airship and part helicopter - in all its 302ft (92m) long glory in a First World War aircraft hangar in Bedfordshire

The Airlander 10 will be powered by 1.3 million cubic feet of helium and will be able to reach 92 mph, its designers say.

The hovering of the aircraft represents a crucial step forward for the Airlander 10, which has been almost 10 years in the making.

It was designed by British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles, initially for the US military. However, following cutbacks to defence the project was stalled.

Following investment from the British government and a number of other backers, including Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, it has now been assembled.

The Airlander 10 is designed to land on a variety of surfaces, including water and ice.

If successful, the aircraft – which flies silently and produces no emissions – could be a major development in transport, heralding in a new generation of airships.

The Airlander 10 - part plane, part airship and part helicopter - in all its 302ft (92m) long glory in a First World War aircraft hangar in Bedfordshire

The aircraft could be used for monitoring, search and rescue, cargo, aid distribution and even leisure and passenger roles, according to its developers.

Chris Daniels, HAV’s head of partnerships, said: “This is a fantastic story of British innovation getting a unique aircraft fully assembled to do something both useful and commercially viable.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in