By Staff writer
320+foot ‘Airlander 10’ to take the skies this year, manufacturer planning to showcase aircraft in Middle East
The British manufacturer of a newly designed airship-plane hybrid is hoping to bring it to the Gulf in the near future to showcase it to potential clients.
The Airlander 10, a 320-foot-long airship-plane hybrid, is set to take to the skies in the UK later this year, after it has completed a series of ground tests.
Originally developed for the US Army, what has been dubbed as the world’s largest aircraft has potential civil, military and leisure usage, and can stay in the air for up to five days.
The “super-strength” fabric of its hull holds four engines, fins and a flight deck.
About 50 foot longer than the largest commercial aircraft, the Airlander 2 uses a combination of a million cubic feet of helium and aerodynamic lift to get off the ground, and is able to land on water, sand or ice.
Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), the manufacturer behind the aircraft, has said it could be used to boost mobile communications networks for sports events, lifting machinery to remote locations, or carrying high net worth individuals.
The firm also revealed that there is a blueprint for a larger Airlander in the works, which could house suites of rooms within its hull.
HAV chief executive Stephen McGlennan told the Guardian newspaper that the first clients for the aircraft were likely to be from the Middle East, possibly Qatar.
“We’ll be taking it out to those places and seeing it do the job. With something like this, seeing is believing – we need to show people,” McGlennan said.
Airlander 10 was unveiled for the first time on Monday, floating in its Bedfordshire hangar.