While the concept has been around for over 100 years, the idea of airships never took off after the German passenger airship Hindenburg disaster in New Jersey in 1937.
But in the latest attempt to revive airships as a practical means of transport, British design company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) hopes to have airships back in the skies by 2016.
HAV’s airship ‘Airlander’ will be the world’s largest aircraft. Airlander recently took off inside a hangar in Cardington, Bedfordshire for the first time.
Here are some interesting facts about Airlander:
- The Airlander is filled with 1.3 million cubic feet of helium…sufficient to fill 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- At 300ft, the Airlander is longer than a soccer pitch. However, the German zeppelin Hindenburg was almost three times longer than the Airlander.
- It is the largest aircraft in the world, bigger even than the biggest passenger plane, the Airbus A380 which is only 240ft long.
- Airlander can stay in the air for two weeks at a time.
- It will be able to carry 48 passengers at a time.
- Airlander can cruise at more than 90 mph with 10 tons of cargo.
- It travels at heights of up to 20,000 feet.
- It does not need a runway to takeoff; it can land vertically like a helicopter.