Wednesday, 07 December 2016
MEGA-BLIMP: Airlander 10 is a hybrid between an aeroplane and an airship. MEGA-BLIMP: Airlander 10 is a hybrid between an aeroplane and an airship. © Airwofhound/Flickr

World’s largest aircraft crashes in Bedfordshire

AIRLANDER 10, the world’s largest aircraft, has crashed during its second test flight in Bedfordshire. The 92 metre long craft, which is part aeroplane and part airship, was damaged as it nosedived during a landing attempt.

Developers Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) released a statement that said all crew members were “safe and well,” although part of the cockpit was destroyed.

HAV tweeted: “Airlander sustained damage on landing during today’s flight. No damage was sustained mid-air or as a result of a telegraph pole as reported.  “We’re debriefing following the second test flight this morning. All crew are safe and well and there are no injuries.”

The €30 million aircraft was initially developed as a surveillance vehicle with the intention of providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support for US Army ground troops.

The first flight was in 2012 but the programme was axed in 2013 before being picked up by HAV.

It was brought to RAF Cardington, where yesterday’s incident occurred, and redeveloped for civilian usage such as transport of freight, aid delivery and passenger travel.

HAV claims the craft will be able to stay airborne for five days once fully operational, and hopes to be building 10 per year from 2021 onwards. It is 15 metres longer than the largest airliner and uses helium to fly, with a top speed of 92mph.


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