Don't you dare call this humongous new aircraft fat; it's just big-boned! Behold the awesome girth of the Airlander 10 from the ambitious British manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles. Now officially recorded as the largest aircraft in the world, this really big bird measures in at 302 feet long and cost an estimated $35.6 million to build. Constructed in the UK's massive aircraft hanger at Cardington in Bedfordshire, it's expected to take to the skies on its inaugural test flight sometime this summer. The Airlander 10 is categorized as a hybrid, with elements of a helicopter, dirigible and traditional fixed-wing aircraft and stands at the forefront of future air transportation needs with its clean, silent propulsion system.
“We will not compete with a 747 flying across the Atlantic, but we can offer the ultimate flight experience for tourism and leisure purposes,” said Chris Daniels, Head of Partnerships at HAV. “It’s perfect for sightseeing because we can have floor to ceiling clear panels, and we can open the windows because we are not flying as high or as fast as traditional planes, but we will not be offering a service to get from A to B as quickly as possible.”
Journalists, engineers and technicians were given a first peek at this prodigous craft on Monday, which when fully inflated, holds a total volume of 1,340,000 cubic feet of helium and is able to remain aloft for up to three hours. Hybrid Air Vehicles plans on building a dozen Airlanders each year starting in 2018, including some passenger craft equipped with luxury suites that can carry up to 48 people at a time.
Would you fly on one of these voluptuous vehicles or do you still have dreams of the Hindenburg dancing in your head?