Beds, Herts & Bucks

Airlander 10: Aircraft leaves hangar for first time

The Airlander 10 Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The Airlander 10 slowly emerged from its hangar in the early hours of Saturday

The world's longest aircraft has been brought out of its hangar for the first time.

The Airlander 10, a plane-airship hybrid, was piloted out of the UK's biggest hangar at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire, at 04:00 BST on Saturday.

The 302ft-long (92m) aircraft passed with just a few feet to spare through the hangar doors and was then towed for 30 minutes to its mast site.

It was the public debut for the £25m craft, christened the Martha Gwyn.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The aircraft has been developed and built in the country's biggest hangar in Bedfordshire
Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Ground systems tests will be carried out on the vessel before it takes to the skies

Tests on its engines, generators and systems were completed last week, while ground systems tests will now be carried out.

The date of its maiden flight has yet to be announced.

The machine is about 60ft (18m) longer than the biggest passenger jets.

British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has spent the past nine years developing the prototype in the Cardington hangar after the US Army ran out of money to develop it as a surveillance machine.

HAV has said the vessel could have many uses including surveillance, communications, transporting cargo, humanitarian missions and passenger travel.

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