World's biggest aircraft 'takes off'

Airlander world’s biggest aircraft, a cross between an airship and an aeroplane, ‘takes off’ for the first time, but it’s not ready to leave the hangar.

Airlander originally developed for the US Army, it was floating for the first time at its Hangar in Cardington, Bedfordshire.

Images credit Airlander

World's biggest aircraft 'takes off' (4)

The airship will be able to carry 48 passengers at a time and will take its first flight next year.

HAV’s Technical Director, Mike Durham, said:

“Seeing the Airlander come to life and floating was simply breath-taking.  This is a key moment for the UK’s aerospace industry in getting this unique aircraft ready for flight.”

World's biggest aircraft 'takes off' (3)

The 92 metre-long Airlander was “walked” the entire length of the 248 metre Hangar to get to the front doors of the Hangar.  This involved 4 fork lift trucks, one at each corner of the Airlander, each carrying a 2-tonne block of cement with a restraining rope attached moving in unison.

During the months of November and December, the key parts of the Airlander (the engines, fins and Mission Module) will be finalised and integrated onto the Airlander.  From early 2016 a series of ground tests will take place inside and outside the Hangar ready for first flight during the first quarter of 2016.

World's biggest aircraft 'takes off' (2)

World's biggest aircraft 'takes off' (1)

source Airlander