The world’s longest aircraft is set to take its first test flight in a few days time.
The unique aerodynamic balloon-like shape of the Airlander 10 – which cost $100 million (£60m) to make – can fly for five days straight, carry around 10-tons of cargo and land on water.
Measuring 302ft (92m) in length the new airship is about 60ft longer than the biggest airliners, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.
It generates lift through being filled with helium and it can travel at a top speed of 92mph.
To put the size of the object into perspective it’s the length of a football pitch and as high as SIX double decker buses.
It’s been made by Bedford-based Hybrid Air Vehicles, and the designers are also rumoured to be planning an even bigger version that will eventually be able to carry 50 tonnes at a time.
The company has received £2.5m of UK government funding to develop the technology and engineering for the project.
Hybrid Air Vehicles anticipate the Airlander 10 will be used for commercial endeavours such as leisure cruises, and for transporting cargo to hard-to-reach places.
The Airlander 10 – which can also stay floating, unmanned, for three weeks even with bullet holes in it – was originally developed from 2009 for the US Army, which abandoned the project.
Company spokesman Chris Daniels told Sky News: “It’s not an airship. It’s a mix between an aeroplane, an airship with a bit of helicopter thrown in.
“It uses the latest materials, it’s got the latest fly-by-night technology, avionics and computer software.
“It’s very much an aircraft for the 21st century.”
But aviation expert David Learmount questioned whether there will be a big demand for it.
He also told the channel The Airlander 10 was “highly specialist” and would not appeal to the “mass market”.
Source: Mirror UK