Beds, Herts & Bucks

Airlander 10: Longest aircraft tested after crash repairs

Landing of Airlander Image copyright sbna
Image caption The front of Airlander 10 hit the ground on its return to Cardington Airfield

It is hoped that the world's longest aircraft - the £25m Airlander 10 - will return to the skies this year after crash landing in August.

The 302ft (92m) long aircraft - which is part plane and part airship - was damaged during a flight from Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire.

The flight deck is now back in place after major repairs and testing has begun inside a hangar at the airfield.

Engineers will then be able to restart their flight test programme.

The developer, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), claims the aircraft could be used for a variety of functions such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel.

It says it will be able to stay airborne for about five days during manned flights.

Image copyright Hybrid Air Vehicles
Image caption The cockpit was badly damaged in the crash
Image copyright Hybrid Air Vehicles
Image caption Engineers have reinstalled the flight controls and tests have begun inside a hangar

The aircraft's cockpit was badly damaged when it nosedived at the end of its second test flight on 24 August.

In a statement a spokesman for HAV said the repairs had gone well.

He added: "The mission module build team has been turning their attention to the large number of tasks that will be required before hangar exit and recommencement of the Flight Test Programme.

"With the equipment installed, power on was achieved and on-aircraft testing has now begun."

The company hopes to be building 10 Airlanders a year by 2021.


Airlander 10 in numbers

Image copyright Hybrid Air Vehicles
Image caption The airship can stay in the same spot for three weeks and can even fly with bullet holes in it
  • 44,100 lbs (20,000kg): The weight of the airship
  • 20,000ft (6,100m): The altitude it can reach
  • 80 knots (148km/h): Maximum speed
  • 5 days: How long it can stay airborne during manned flights
  • 22,050 lbs (10,000kg): Total payload - the weight the ship is able to carry

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