World’s Largest Aircraft Rises to the Skies Again
Kyle Maxey posted on May 18, 2017 | 1825 views

The Airlander 10, described as the world’s largest aircraft, has taken flight for the first time since last August after experiencing technical difficulties that forced a crash landing.

In its latest flight, the 92m long, 43.5m wide, 26m tall behemoth, stayed aloft for just under 3 hours, collecting valuable data on the aircraft’s operations including safe takeoff and landing protocols, in-air handling, airspeed management and, of course, the systems that are used to collect valuable post-flight data. Happily, during this flight all systems appeared to check out 5-by-9 and a smooth landing was made at Cardington Airfield just north of London, England.

(Image courtesy of Hybrid Air Vehicles.)
(Image courtesy of Hybrid Air Vehicles.)

But what’s been going on with the Airlander’s engineering since its unfortunate crash nearly a year ago?

According to Hybrid Air Vehicles, designers of the Airlander 10, over the past 10 months their engineers have been tirelessly working on a new Auxiliary Landing System (ALS) that can inflate within moments to ensure a stable and cushioned landing as the aircraft returns to Earth.

In addition to the improved ALS, Hybrid Air Vehicles has also upgraded its Mobile Mooring Mast (MMM), a system used to dock the giant inflatable when it’s not aloft. While those two improvements are, by far, the most visible in this last incarnation of the Airlander 10, Hybrid suggests that other improvements have also been made to its latest vehicle.

“This is a great testament to the tenacity and ingenuity of the team of engineers at Hybrid Air Vehicles, who are continually pushing the boundaries of aviation with this amazing aircraft,” said technical director Mike Durham.

Further test flights will continue to be conducted on the Airlander 10, each of which will be separated by a few weeks to allow for thorough data evaluation. With enough dedicated engineering and several more trials, the Airlander might just enter a variety of commercial services including surveillance, research and filming sometime in the next few years. 

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