Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Airlander 10 gives an interesting first impression when you look at it, but try to ignore making the obvious comparisons because what this aircraft is capable is pretty amazing. (Don’t worry, the comparisons have already been made; Airlander 10’s nickname is “The Flying Bum.”)
The Airlander 10 is the world’s largest aircraft and is part plane, part airship, and part helicopter. Hybrid Air Vehicles built Airlander 10 as a luxury ship that would take passengers on three-day excursions. Airlander 10 measures302 feet long and costs around $33 million. It can carry up to 19 passengers, with en-suite bedrooms an “Altitude Bar,” and a lounge area. The airship also features glass flooring, allowing passengers to not only view from horizon to horizon, but to also see what is 16,000 feet below them.
The Airlander won’t be winning any speed races. It tops out in speed at about 91 miles per hour, but that’s not the point. The airship is meant for passengers to rediscover the joys of flying. Though it may be a while before that happens. The maiden voyage in 2016 ended when it crashed into a telegraph pole. The second flight ended in a nosedive. In 2017, Airlander 10 collapsed before take-off only a day after completing a successful flight. Improvements have been made, and six successful test flights have gone off without a hitch, but they’ll be required to have 200 incident-free hours in the sky before they can take on commercial passengers.