World's largest aircraft completes its maiden voyage

By midian182 ยท 14 replies
Aug 18, 2016
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  1. Airlander 10, the helium-filled plane/airship hybrid that is considered to be the largest aircraft in the world, has completed its maiden flight. It took off from Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire, UK, at around 19:40 BST yesterday and flew for about 20 minutes at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

    The Airlander 10 is 302 feet long - about 50 feet longer than the world’s biggest passenger planes. Its carbon fiber hull is filled with 38,000 cubic meters of pressurized helium, and its four V8 turbo-diesel engines drive the four propellers. It can theoretically carry 10 tons of cargo, hence the name.

    Its developer, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), says it can reach 16,000 feet, travel at up to 90 mph and stay aloft for five days. When unmanned, it can stay in the air for up to two weeks.

    The aircraft was originally developed for the US army. There were plans for three Airlander 10s to be used as surveillance and communications platforms in Afganistan. There was even a test flight in New Jersey back in 2012, but defense spending cuts saw HAV purchased the craft back from the military in 2013 for $293,000.

    The Airlander 10 returned to the skies thanks to two crowdfunding campaigns that raised over $2 million, a $5 million grant from the UK government, and another $2 million from the EU. The flight was initially supposed to take place on Sunday, but was scrapped due to an unspecified technical issue.

    As it doesn’t require a runway to take off and land, HAV said the aircraft could be used in a number of areas, such as delivering goods in hard to reach locations, communications, and even passenger travel.

    As big as the Airlander 10 is, HAV chief executive Stephen McGlennan siad the company hopes to have an even bigger aircraft -the Airlander 50 - that’s capable of carrying 50 tons of cargo in the skies by 2020.

    Check out some of the Airlander 10's UK flight in the video below. Be aware that the noise is coming from a helicopter, not the aircraft.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,350   +1,998

    Well, it ain't going to replace my Beechcraft, but I'd love to fly it just once .....
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I wish I could have been the one to buy the largest aircraft in the world for the bargain price of under $300,000.
  4. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +136

    It took 9 million more to get it off the ground... Not really a bargain for a blimp.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,703

    So much for having a helium shortage. I guess this project debunks that notion.
  6. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,573   +715

    Bah... They should have used Hydrogen... Oh, the humanity!!
  7. cartera

    cartera TS Evangelist Posts: 365   +113

    That's probably why we have a helium shortage!

    Not surprised the US military canned it. It looks like one heck of a RPG magnet.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,548

    Better bring a couple dozen if you want to knock it down. I have this crazy notion it would take forever to deflate.

    Or, I suppose you could shoot the pilot with something moving that slow.
  9. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,350   +1,998

    Doubtful an RPG could reach it at their normally operating altitude, but they have gotten their hands on a few ground to air rockets, which could liven up the party quite smartly!
  10. JamesSWD

    JamesSWD TS Addict Posts: 174   +126

    Five days aloft, when manned, but "When unmanned, it can stay in the air for up to two weeks." -- Wonder why the difference. Shouldn't be any problem to carry supplies for as long as they need...unless maybe the waste disposal/septic system is good for only five days.
  11. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,350   +1,998

    OH NO!!!! ...... I do believe you have discovered their newest unmanned drone .... which would take about 5 days to reach any target! I'm guessing they will have to suspend a giant cloud like structure under it so you won't see it coming .... or care!
  12. Bruce Fraser

    Bruce Fraser TS Rookie

    Something that big and that light... I wonder how it does in a strong wind?
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,548

    Well, I would think you'd have to avoid flying into the jet stream. Or, you'd by victimized by the old adage, "the hurrier I go, the behinder I get".:oops:
    toxicfiend likes this.
  14. toxicfiend

    toxicfiend TS Enthusiast Posts: 41   +11

    People funded that for what waste money on something so impractical and the fact that blimps are no longer used as this isn't the 1930s anymore and it would be the easiest target to shoot out of the skies anywhere in the world.Why do people keep giving money to these projects as I see this as just a waste.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,548

    For that matter, why did the Germans fill their blimps with hydrogen? Unless of course, it was to create news reel footage which would last many lifetimes:


    More to the point, in the 1930, as in nowadays, "a fool and his, (or her), money are soon parted company". (I had to add the "her" for the sake of political correctness). I can just hear women screaming, "he can't call us fools". Oh but I must darlings, you made me.

    Then too, who says, "you can't save every puppy in the pound", and so they give til it "helps".. Kickstarter is totally based on the concept that you can save every puppy in the pound, so they give til somebody else figures out the project is a fraud!

    In any case though, I thought Google was testing out blimps, or weather balloons, or something that floats in the air, to bring wireless to areas without wired internet infrastructure. Just imagine how much advertising you could plaster on the side of that piece of sh!t!
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
    toxicfiend likes this.

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