|Photo by Freeimages.com/M Jarrell|
Hugh Morris, The Daily Telegraph, March 21, 2016
The world’s largest aircraft rose from the ground for the first time today, during its official unveiling at a hangar in Bedfordshire.
The Airlander 10, described as part plane, part airship, part helicopter, was originally developed for the US Army in 2009 but reimagined for commercial use when the project stalled.
The 302ft-long aircraft, which is about 50ft longer than the biggest commercial jets, has been in development by British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) for the past nine years.
Today, it was floated above the ground in a giant hangar in Cardington, while its first flight is expected later this year.
HAV believes the Airlander 10, which can take off vertically and land on almost any surface, including ice, sand and water, is the future of air travel.
The aircraft is silent and has no emissions but needs 1.3million cubic feet of helium to get off the ground.
HAV is hoping to built 12 Airlanders a year by 2018, with the passenger aircraft able to carry up to 48 people.
It will require 200 hours of test flights before being allowed to fly commercially.
HAV CEO Stephen McGlennan speaks at the unveiling.
"For the people on board and the people down below it's going to look quite a sight," chief test pilot David Burns told the BBC .
The curvaceous appearance of the Airlander 10 has prompted a number of humourous social media posts, including one where the back end of the aircraft is mocked up as belonging to socialite and famed bottom-owner Kim Kardashian.
— Sputnik Türkiye (@sputnik_TR) February 11, 2016
This article was written by Hugh Morris from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.