Humans have a never ending fascination with diving into the birds’ world and fly over the skies. The Wright brothers were the first to do it, but we continue to make more efforts for better, safer, higher, and more luxurious flights. The Antonov-225 was the largest cargo plane to have ever flown over the skies, and the Airbus A380 has been the biggest passenger plane up until now. All of that has changed, and the spot has been taken by the Airlander 10.
Hybrid Air Vehicles announced the Airlander 10 years ago. The 302-feet-long plane successfully completed its maiden flight in August last year but managed to crash on the second one in the same month. The behemoth has taken to the skies again, and this time landed successfully after a three-hour flight.
The plane took off from the Cardington Airfield in the north of London, at 5:28 PM local time, spent 180 minutes in the air and returned to the base at 8:15 PM. After the previous crash, the engineering team had developed a new Auxiliary Landing System (ALS) consisting of two huge airbags on both sides of the flight deck to protect the cabin and deck in case of a crash. During the flight, the bags are stowed to keep drag to a minimum and take 15 seconds to inflate.
During the flight, the plane was tested for handling, airspeed, and the crucial onboard operation systems. The team has developed another mooring system that will make it easier and to dock the aircraft.
The plane measures at 92 meters in length, and 43.5 meters in width. The height of the craft goes to 26 meters (302 x 143 x 85 ft), and the helium-filled hull allows a payload capacity of up to 10,000 kg (11,050 lb). The beast takes off using aerodynamic lift to which four 325 hp (242 kW) turbocharged engines provide power.
The Technical Director at Hybrid Air Vehicles, Mike Durham commented, “This is a great testament to the tenacity and ingenuity of the team of engineers at Hybrid Air Vehicles, who are continually pushing the boundaries of aviation with this amazing aircraft.” The company is planning to create passenger variants and cargo service Airlanders, so the plane will provide an “ultra-stable, ultra-powerful and ultra-long endurance platform that will be useful in a huge number of roles.”
Below is the video of the take-off and landing test of the Airlander 10 on May 10, 2017: