Airlander the world’s largest hybrid aircraft unveiled

Published on : Saturday, March 1, 2014

AirlanderThe world witnessed the launch of the largest aircraft Airlander as the British creators promised they could deliver up to 1,000 more and bring a change in the way the world views the idea of standard aviation.


However, the plane is huge and one of the two Cardington Hangers that dominate the Bedfordshire landscape is the only one that can accommodate the 302ft (92m) Airlander, which is part plane, airship and helicopter. It can stay in the air for up to three weeks unmanned and is capable of touching down on land or sea.


The aircraft is a benchmark for greener aircraft and this Hybrid Air Vehicle which is Cranfield-based has created history in being a unique aircraft with multi facilities.


The US Army was initially going to be the owners of the first HAV Airlander, to use primarily for surveillance missions in Afghanistan. But defence budget cuts meant the project was cancelled and HAV stepped in to bring the Airlander home and bring it to life.


The Airlander is about 60ft longer than the biggest airliners, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8. It is also almost 30ft longer than the cargo-carrying Antonov An-225, which until now was the longest aircraft ever built.


Although resembling an airship with its giant helium-filled balloon on top of a 150ft long flight deck, the Airlander’s unique aerodynamic shape means it can generate lift like an aeroplane wing – and it’s going to get bigger. The prototype on display in Cardington is the forerunner of the Airlander 50, a 50-tonne heavy lift hybrid vehicle that should be in the air this time next year.
Airlander is the solution to that problem with its air cushioned landing system as opposed to other aircraft that have to be ground handled with a number of people and the aircraft has to manhandle to make it steady.

The Airlander is a 38-tonne machine so the inertia is incredible and piloting them over rough seas can be smoother than other airships which are usually seven to eight tones.


HAV’s chief executive Stephen McGlennan said the plans to build up to 1,000 Airlanders in the coming decades could bring around 1,800 jobs to the area. The company has already had interest from governments and agencies all around the world.


In few years one Airlander will be built every month and can work in places like Canada’s remote mines, Middle East’s oil and gas pipelines. This is the best answer to greener and more sustainable aviation in the next five years.



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