Beds, Herts & Bucks

Airlander 10: Maiden flight delayed at last minute

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Media captionThe maiden flight of the world's longest aircraft postponed because of a 'technical issue'

The maiden flight of the world's longest aircraft has been postponed at the last minute because of a "technical issue".

The Airlander 10 - part plane, part airship - was due to take off from Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire on Sunday.

The aircraft measures 302ft (92m) long and is about 50ft (15m) longer than the biggest passenger jets.

It is not known when another attempt at a test flight will be made.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The aircraft has been developed and built in the country's biggest hangar in Bedfordshire

Christened the Martha Gwyn, the £25m aircraft can only fly in daylight for a test flight and it was feared the flight would not have been completed before dark by the time the issue was resolved, an organiser said.

It was first developed for the US government as a surveillance aircraft but the project was shelved amid defence cutbacks.

British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) launched a campaign to return the Airlander 10 to the skies in May 2015.

The huge aircraft will be able to stay airborne for around five days during manned flights.

HAV claims it could be used for a variety of functions such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel.

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