Airlander 10: World’s ‘largest’ Aircraft Set For Takeoff
The world’s largest aircraft, an airship spanning more than six double-decker buses, is set to make its maiden flight in the northern hemisphere spring, British manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles says.
The 92-metre Airlander 10 floated in a hangar in Cardington, central England, at a media event where its backers showcased a vessel they said could stay airborne for up to two weeks.
The Airlander 10 is “part plane, part helicopter,” and after more than three years of hard work, the engineers are putting the final touches on the world’s largest flying machine. The Airlander was originally developed as a part of a U.S. Army project, but was dropped by the higher-ups in 2012 and it is now being converted into a business that offers leisure flights from a hangar in England’s Cardington, Bedfordshire.
The 300-foot-long vessel was filled with 1.3 million cubic feet of helium during a test run in October and the engines and fins are being fitted before the aircraft’s first flight with its new specifications. The exact date for its flight has yet to be announced, but the craft will be restricted to flying within a 70-mile radius. “It’s very satisfying for the team and me to get another milestone under our belts. We’re hugely excited about the forthcoming Airlander First Flight this year,” Mick Durham, Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Technical director said in a press release.
If the flight is successful, this prototype will then go into production. This model alone is worth $1.1 billion and has fairly complex flight systems. The Airlander produces 60 percent of its lift aerostatically (because it is so light) and 40 percent aerodynamically (because of its wing-shape, as well as having the ability to rotate its engines). These features allow the craft to hover as well as land on nearly any surface, including water, desert, and ice. With anything this large, it doesn’t move very quickly (cruising speeds at 90 mph), but it can stay in the air for two weeks at a time and reach heights of 20,000 feet with a 10-tonne cargo.
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Source: Rob Green on YouTube