Airlander 10, the world’s largest aircraft, leaves hangar for first time

The largest aircraft in the world, a 302-feet-long hybrid airship called the Airlander 10, left its hangar in Cardington, Bedfordshire for the first time today.

The Airlander 10, which cost £25million to build over a decade, was piloted out of its base at 04:00 BST on Saturday.

The aircraft will undergo a series of ground systems tests before conducting its first series of flight tests.

The project’s technical director, Mike Durham, said: ‘Last week we successfully completed our final in-hangar all engines, all generators, all systems testing.

‘My thanks to the whole business for getting us here. The entire team is looking forward to the final series of tests outside before taking to the skies for the first time.

The British firm behind the aircraft, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), claims on its website that the Airlander 10 can stay airborne for up to five days at a time if manned, and for over 2 weeks unmanned.

HAV says that the aircraft “will fulfil a wide range of communication, cargo carrying and survey roles in both the military and commercial sectors all with a significantly lower carbon footprint than other forms of air transport.”

The Airlander 10 has four 325 hp, 4 litre V8 direct injection, turbocharged diesel engines. Two of the engines are mounted forward on the hull while two are on the stern of the hull for cruise operation.