Last weekend marked a successful first hangar exit for the Airlander 10, the largest aircraft in the world. It left its base at Cardington Airfield in the UK at 4am on Saturday morning.
The aircraft was designed by Hybrid Air Vehicles with the intention of creating eco-friendly tourism that will enable passengers to travel in comfort with magnificent views while limiting impact on the environment due to the lower fuel burn of the vessel.
The Airlander 10 uses innovative aerospace technology to combine characteristics of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter than air technology to create an efficient aircraft that can stay airborne for up to five days at a time if manned and for over two weeks if unmanned.
Having left the hangar, the Airlander 10 is now being prepared for a series of ground systems tests before its first flight, which is thought to be in the coming months.
Due it’s huge size, exiting the hangar was a delicate operation for the aircraft, which had a tight clearance space from the fin tip to the sides of the hangar doors.
“It was a very smooth first journey for Airlander and she behaved beautifully. We’re delighted to have reached this significant milestone,” says Technical Director Mike Durham.
The company plans to implement the Airlander for use in communication, cargo carrying, survey roles and commercial sectors as well as tourism. The aircraft will also be able to take off and land in a short distance from unprepared sites such as ice, water or desert terrain.
Following the successful launch of the Airlander 10, the company plans to use a larger aircraft, the Airlander 50 which will be designed specifically for the heavy lift cargo market.