The world’s largest aircraft, the Airlander 10, has made its maiden flight at Cardington airfield north of London on last Wednesday evening. Its first flight only stayed in the air for 20 minutes about 35 miles.
The Airlander 10’s maiden flight was originally scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed due to a technical problem.
This 302 feet (92 meters) long aircraft needs 1.3 million cubic feet of helium to run, has four engines, and can reach an altitude of 16,000 feet, can travel up to 90 miles per hour and also this huge aircraft will be able to stay airborne for around five days during manned flights with the ability to carry payloads of up to 10,000 kg. and for more than two weeks if unmanned. According to the company that designed and manufactured the Airlander 10.
The Airlander 10 is about 50 feet (15 metres) longer than the world’s biggest passenger planes.
The Airlander 10 has been in the making since 2007 at Hybrid Air Vehicles.
It was first developed for the US government as a surveillance aircraft but in 2013 the project was shelved amid defence cutbacks.
Wednesday’s flight was just the beginning of testing of the Airlander and this test program will continue for months. During the test stage Airlander 10 is not allowed to fly at night .
This special Airlander 10 doesn’t need a runway to take off. That means it can operate from land, snow, ice, desert and even open water.
British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (the company that designed and manufactured the Airlander 10) hopes to be building 10 Airlanders a year by 2021.