World’s Largest Aircraft Rolls Out For Its Maiden Test Flight


Last weekend on the 6th at 4:00 am BST, the world’s largest aircraft, Airlander 10, made its first public appearance. Airlander 10 airship is helium-buoyant and was first created for the US Army as a part of  LEMV (Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle). The aircraft was brought out of the Airship Shed 1 hangar in RAF Cardington, Bedfordshire, Britain for its maiden flight in the UK.

Hybrid Air Vehicles announced that Airlander 10 has recently undergone a series of tests and the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) and CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) have granted their approval for the first test flight of the aeroplane. The rollout of the world’s largest aircraft was witnessed by  50 employees as the 302 feet long and 143 feet wide Airlander 10 was guided out of the 100-year-old hangar.


Airlander 10 making its first public appearance(Credit: Hybrid Air Vehicles)
Airlander 10 making its first public appearance(Credit: Hybrid Air Vehicles)


The world’s biggest aircraft will undergo full electromagnetic interference checks, power engine runs, and another overall vehicle systems check before it takes off. Test pilots Simon Davies and David Burns will command the airship on its first flight in Britain airspace. However, the date is yet to be announced.

The Airlander 10 was conceived as part of the US Army’s LEMV project to manufacture a low-cost aircraft featuring vertical takeoff and hovering like a helicopter, as well as the endurance and payload capacity of a conventional aircraft.


Credit: Hybrid Air Vehicles
Credit: Hybrid Air Vehicles

In 2012, Airlander 10 flew in the US for the first time having lifted a payload of 10,000 kg to an altitude of 6,100 m with a speed of up to 148 km/h and a five-day flight endurance. Unfortunately, the project was discontinued in 2013 owing to performance and technical challenges. The airship was thus disassembled and sent to Britain for civilian use like cargo, tourist flights, surveying, and communications. The aircraft was reassembled in Britain

Although Airlander 10 can be seen from a distance, the hybrid aircraft is under 24-hour security and the airfield is closed to visitors and public. The videos below show Airlander 10 coming out of its hangar:


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