Beds, Herts & Bucks

Airlander 10 takes to skies for first time since crash

Airlander Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The £25m aircraft, which is the length of a football pitch, took off over Bedfordshire

The world's largest aircraft has successfully flown for the first time since it crash-landed nine months ago.

The Airlander 10 - a combination of a plane and an airship - took off at 17:30 BST near its base at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire and landed safely at about 20:15.

The £25m aircraft nosedived during a test flight on 24 August.

No-one was injured in the accident, but the airship's cockpit was effectively destroyed.

Image caption After extensive repairs, Airlander was moved back to its mooring mast at Cardington Airfield

The aircraft, which is the length of a football pitch, was given a pair of "giant inflatable landing feet" as part of a package of improvements following the crash.

The accident was due to the Airlander climbing to an excessive height because its mooring line caught on power cables, an Air Accidents Investigation Branch report found.

Ahead of its comeback flight, a spokesman for manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles said: "The regulatory requirements of this flight means we will be no more than 15 miles from Cardington airfield at any time and no higher than 4,000ft, but we expect to be closer to the airfield and a little lower than that."

Image caption Airbags resemble "giant inflatable landing feet"

Airlander 10 in numbers

  • 44,100 lbs (20,000kg): The mass of the airship
  • 20,000ft (6,100m): The altitude it can reach
  • 80 knots (148km/h): Maximum speed
  • Five days: How long it can stay airborne on manned flights
  • 22,050 lbs (10,000kg): Total payload - the weight the ship is able to carry

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