The Airlander 10, a plane-airship hybrid, was piloted out of the UK’s biggest hangar at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire, at 04:00 BST on Saturday.

The 302ft-long (92m) aircraft passed with just a few feet to spare through the hangar doors and was then towed for 30 minutes to its mast site.

It was the public debut for the £25m craft, christened the Martha Gwyn but the date of its maiden flight has yet to be announced.

The 302-feet-long craft was originally developed as part of a US Army project which was then abandoned in 2012.  A British company has converted the aircraft – a cross between an airship and an aeroplane – for civilian use. It will fly to 4,000 feet at speeds of up to 46 mph in a series of six test flights above Cardington, Bedfordshire

The ‘Flying Bum’ can carry 48 passengers and is designed to be flown by remote control for up to three weeks

The largest aircraft currently flying uses innovative technology to combine the best characteristics of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter-than-air technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft.

It can stay airborne for up to five days at a time if manned, and for over 2 weeks unmanned. It will fulfil a wide range of communication, cargo carrying and survey roles in both the military and commercial sectors all with a significantly lower carbon footprint than other forms of air transport

Airlander 10 is underpinned by the company’s numerous patents vested worldwide. From the latest materials technology, to the aerodynamic effects of its shape, it is full of innovation.

There is no internal structure in the Airlander – it maintains its shape due to the pressure stabilisation of the helium inside the hull, and the smart and strong Vectran material it is made of. Carbon composites are used throughout the aircraft for strength and weight savings.

HAV (Hybrid Air Vessel) has said the vessel could have many uses including surveillance, communications, transporting cargo, humanitarian missions and passenger travel.


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