World’s longest aircraft prepares for first U.K. test flight
It looks like something from the movie Big Hero 6, but this giant white aircraft is making history.
Airlander 10, a cross between an airship and a plane, is preparing for its maiden voyage in the United Kingdom, set to take place within a few weeks.
The aircraft is designed by Hybrid Air Vehicles out of Bedford, England. The company utilizes lighter-than-air technology paired with airplane and helicopter capabilities.
The aircraft was originally designed in 2009 for the U.S. Army which then dropped the project.
Airlander 10 is 92 metres long, 43.5 metres wide and 26 metres high, weighing 20 tons. It can remain airborne for five days and can even touchdown on water. The balloon is filled with helium and provides about 40 per cent of the vehicle’s lift. It is also equipped with four 350 horsepower, four-litre V8 direct injection turbocharged engines. It can carry up to 10 tons and could be fitted to take on 48 passengers cruising at 80 knots.
The first test flight of the Airlander 10 was in 2012, for the U.S. Army. However, the project was cancelled in 2013.
The largest aircraft in operation is the Russian Antonov An-225 Mriya, which is 84 metres long and 18.1 metres high.
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