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article imageWorld's biggest aircraft set to take off over UK next month

By Karen Graham     Feb 10, 2016 in Technology
The world's biggest airship is set to take off and be tested over the skies of the United Kingdom next month. Called the Airlander 10, the airship is a gargantuan 302 feet in length and the height of six double-decker buses.
It has been nearly a year since Digital Journal reported on Airlander 10's return to its homeland. Developed by British manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles for surveillance by the U.S. military in 2010, the airship will be used for more mundane purposes.
Airlander 10's home is a hangar in Cardington, Bedfordshire. The cross between a plane, an airship, and a helicopter will take to the skies on a test flight after the fins and engines are attached this week. The Daily Mail reports that last October, the airship was filled with 1.3 million cubic feet of helium — enough to fill 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Comparison of Airlander 10 to an airplane.
Comparison of Airlander 10 to an airplane.
The Verge
Even though the actual date of the test flight has not been announced, it will be restricted to a 70-mile (112 km) radius. Should the test flight be successful, then an airship based on this prototype will go into production. Airlander 10 can take off vertically and reach cruising altitudes at 20,000 feet, however, during its test flight, it will only reach 4,000 feet and remain within 17.25 miles of its take off spot, according to the International Business Times.
The airship has four 350 hp engines, capable of moving it at a cruising speed of 92 mph. This is fast enough to carry up to 48 passengers comfortably from London to Paris in about 2.5 hours. Travelers will be able to take in the view from floor to ceiling windows while they roam around the cabins.
The vessel was filled with 1.3million cubic feet of helium - enough to fill 15 Olympic-sized swimmin...
The vessel was filled with 1.3million cubic feet of helium - enough to fill 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools -in a test run last October and now the engines and fins are being fitted ahead of next month's flight.
HAV
The designers also say the aircraft is able to lift heavier payloads than conventional passenger planes, and produce far less noise and air pollution, which gives Airlander 10 a smaller carbon footprint. Airlander doesn't need a runway, either, because it can take off and land on most surfaces. It can also operate in extreme hot or cold climates.
Airlander 10 will need to clock at least 200 hours of flight time before being considered airworthy by the Civil Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
The craft did carry out a test flight in 2012 in New Jersey (pictured) but next month s take-off wil...
The craft did carry out a test flight in 2012 in New Jersey (pictured) but next month's take-off will be the first under the hybrid aircraft's latest specifications. Some have hailed the Airlander as the future of air travel because, unlike conventional aeroplanes, it emits little pollution and is not noisy enough to disturb people on the ground
HAV
News.com.au quoted HAV's head of communications, Chris Daniels, who told the Times, “We are looking at pictures of airships over Bedfordshire in the 1920s and the sight of them literally stopped the traffic. People were awe-struck. We’re expecting the same thing.”
Daniels said the Airlander 10 is bigger than the Airbus A380 but is much slower and flies much lower. The Airlander 10 got its number designation because it is capable of carrying 10 tons. For the Airlander 10, the future looks to be bright. The company is already looking to future ‘greener’ versions outfitted with solar panels.
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