Beds, Herts & Bucks

Airlander 10 poised to resume test flights after crash

The 302ft (92m) long Airlander 10 aircraft is now back on the airfield ahead of more test flights Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The 302ft (92m) long aircraft is now back on the airfield ready for more test flights

Final preparations are being made to the world's largest aircraft before it resumes flight trials "very soon".

The part-plane, part-airship Airlander 10 was badly damaged when it nosedived during a test flight on 24 August.

After extensive repairs, it has now been moved back to its mooring mast at Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire.

Manufacturer, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), said it would not announce a flight date in advance but that final tests were under way.

It said the aircraft, which is the length of a football pitch, was "flight-ready" and was expected to be airborne "very soon".

Image copyright Hybrid Air Vehicles
Image caption Airlander emerged from its hangar on Friday night after months of extensive repairs

HAV chief executive Stephen McGlennnan said: "With our next flight just round the corner, this opens a new chapter in aviation history.

"An aircraft that flies in an entirely new way and which can do so many useful things is about to be a regular sight over the UK. I think we'll amaze people."

Airlander was moved out of its hangar at Cardington shortly after 21:00 on Friday to complete final preparations.

HAV believes it could be used for a variety of functions, such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel.

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Media captionThe front of Airlander 10 hit the ground on its return to Cardington Airfield in August

The £25m aircraft was given a pair of "giant inflatable landing feet" as part of improvements following its crash on 24 August.

No-one was injured in the accident, but the cockpit was effectively destroyed.

It happened when Airlander climbed to an excessive height because its mooring line became caught on power cables, an Air Accidents Investigation Branch report found.

Image caption The airbags resemble "giant inflatable landing feet", Chris Daniels from HAV said

Airlander 10 in numbers

  • 44,100 lbs (20,000kg): The weight of the airship
  • 20,000ft (6,100m): The altitude it can reach
  • 80 knots (148km/h): Maximum speed
  • 5 days: How long it can stay airborne on manned flights
  • 22,050 lbs (10,000kg): Total payload - the weight the ship is able to carry

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