The Airlander 10, the worlds largest aircraft, has left it's hanger for the first time. Despite its size it only took the team 30 minutes to tow into the test field. The Aircraft, which cost £25million to build over 10 years, is 92 metres long and pumped with a million cubic feet of helium. The part-plane, part-airship left its hangar in Cardington, Bedfordshire at 4am today to commence a brief series of ground systems tests before its first flight later this month.
Four years after the US Army deemed it too expensive, the hybrid airship – a carbon-composite cross between a zeppelin, a helicopter and an aeroplane - was gently piloted into the open in a delicate five-minute operation. The Airlander 10 was pulled out into a field at Cardington in Bedfordshire. It's the first time that the vessel has been publicly visible off the airfield.
The project's technical director, Mike Durham, said: 'Last week we successfully completed our final in-hangar all engines, all generators, all systems testing. 'My thanks to the whole business for getting us here. The entire team is looking forward to the final series of tests outside before taking to the skies for the first time.
Running off jets and helium, the Airlander 10 is 70% greener than a jet aircraft and can fly for five days without refuelling. The impressive airliner can also stay floating, unmanned in the sky for up to three weeks at a time.
The machine is about 60ft (18m) longer than the biggest passenger jets. British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles took on the unwanted aircraft and decided to convert it for commercial use. Not only will it go on tourist passenger flights, it will also fulfil a wide range of communication and survey roles, as well as carrying cargo.Tests on its engines, generators and systems were completed last week, while ground systems tests will now be carried out. The date of its maiden flight has yet to be announced.