U.K. Bedfordshire – Airlander 10, the world’s longest aircraft, crashed during its second test flight. The plane had an accident as it landed at Cardington Airfield this morning in Bedfordshire County.
The massive ship is nicknamed “The Flying Bum” because of its round back, a feature that sums up its odd design but should not interfere with its performance. However, the ship ran into problems as it was descending to the ground and the 302ft (92m) ship’s cockpit was damaged after nosediving to the air base.
“The Airlander experienced a heavy landing and the front of the flight has sustained some damage wich is currently being assessed,” Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) said in an official statement after the incident.
HAV also denied the claims from a witness that the ship crashed a telegraph line about two feets away from its landing.
The hybrid has to stock 200 hours of incident-free test flight before customers can use it
HAV unveiled the prototype last March and, on August 17, the ship left the bomb-shelter hangar to meet the skies for the first time.
Things went well on the first 20 min flight but weren’t as smooth as when the ship was completing 100 minutes test drive and went nose-frits into the grass in a slow motion crash recorded on video.
Time to reset, as the company has to achieve 200 hours of flight with no incidents to launch the airship. HAV hopes to be building 10 Airlander a year by 2021.
Airlander 10 is a massive hybrid fixed-wing aircraft, airship technology, and helicopters
The main feature, though, is the lighter-than-air helium that feels the hull made of carbon fiber.
The 10’s cockpit is similar from a jumbo jet, with additional settings to control helium settings for lift, hovering, and landing. By 2021, Airlander 10 could stay flight about five days in manned flights.
Furthermore, the airship can reach a maximum altitude of 20,000 feet (6,100m); and reach a maximum speed of 80 knots (91mph). That’s a far cry from the Airbus 380’s flying speed of 560 mph.
Besides going on five-day trips, the ten can also float unmanned for weeks. HAV has said this particular feature could be attractive for military use (like surveillance and cargo). In fact, the model was initially funded by U.S military but put to rest due to budget cuts. It was then when British army stepped in and had stayed as one of the principal investors of the project.
This morning's #Airlander incident. pic.twitter.com/GwFqbQ1QIN
— Airships.net (@Airships) August 24, 2016
Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden, is also an investor in the venture. He is so enthusiastic about airships that he sometimes drives the band’s plane.
Either way, beyond military use, HAV wants the model to be appealing to governments that need to deliver large cargos to remote locations, tourist (as the aircraft will fly at low altitude with floor to ceiling windows), and telecommunications companies.