Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd of the United Kingdom flew the Airlander 10 hybrid aircraft for the first time at the historic Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire, England on 17 August. The aircraft was flown by Chief Test Pilot David Burns and SETP Member Simon Davies during a successful 20-minute flight, and both pilots reported being delighted with the aircraft’s performance.
At 92m long, the Airlander 10 is the largest aircraft in the world. Helium in its 38,000 cubic metre hull provides buoyant lift, but up to 40% of the aircraft’s lift is generated aerodynamically by the hull’s lifting body shape. Airlander 10 is designed to stay airborne for up to five days at a time to fulfil a wide range of communication and survey roles, as well as for search and rescue, logistics and passenger tourism.
A short film of the first flight can be seen here: