Airlander 10 crash: Video shows world's biggest aircraft crashing into the ground on test flight

The ship was undergoing its second ever test flight when it crash landed into a field

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 24 August 2016 15:14 BST
Airlander, world's largest aircraft, crashes attempting 2nd flight

Video shows the world's biggest aircraft crash landing after its second ever flight.

The Airlander 10, a 302ft-long (92-metre) part plane, part airship, was damaged after it crashed into the floor when it was trying to land at its base at Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire.

Footage shows the plane travelling steadily at low altitude, apparently coming into land. As it does so, it tips forwards so that its nose points towards the ground.

It then moves in to land much more quickly, eventually landing on its bottom but with much more force than it usually would.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed that it will investigate the incident.

A spokesman for Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), which is developing Airlander 10, said: "The prototype Airlander 10 undertook its second test flight and flew for 100 minutes, completing all the planned tasks before returning to Cardington to land.

"The Airlander experienced a heavy landing and the front of the flight deck has sustained some damage which is currently being assessed.

"Both pilots and the ground crew are safe and well and the aircraft is secured and stable at its normal mooring location.

"Hybrid Air Vehicles runs a robust set of procedures for flight test activities and investigation of issues.

"We will be running through these in the days ahead as we continue the development of the Airlander aircraft. Further updates will follow in due course."

First developed for the US government as a long-endurance surveillance aircraft, the British firm launched a campaign to return the craft to the sky after it fell foul of defence cutbacks.

It is about 50ft (15 metres) longer than the biggest passenger jets and uses helium to become airborne, travelling at speeds of 92mph.

The Airlander successfully completed its first test flight without incident on August 17. It performed one lap of the airfield before landing about half an hour later.

That was set to be the beginning of 200 hours of test flights for the 143ft-wide (44-metre) and 85ft-high (26-metre) craft, which will be able to stay airborne for about five days during manned flights.

HAV claims it could be used for a variety of functions such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel.

It is also hoped an Airlander 50 will eventually be developed, which would be able to transport 50 tonnes of freight.

Additional reporting by agencies

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