World’s largest aircraft takes to the skies for the first time (PHOTOS, VIDEO)



The world’s largest aircraft, The Airlander 10, nicknamed ‘the flying bum’, took its maiden flight on Wednesday night.
The aircraft was first developed for the US military surveillance but was shelved in 2013 due to defence spending cutbacks.
It took off at 7.40pm from Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire, as aviation experts looked on in awe.
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World’s largest aircraft takes to the skies for the first time
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It is 92m long, which is longer than the biggest passenger jets by 15m.
The helium-filled aircraft, which is part plane, part airship, was expected to be launched for its first test flight on Sunday but failed to do so because of safety concerns. 
After setting off on its maiden voyage, it was airborne for around 20 minutes before it was forced to return to base before nightfall. 
After it had successfully landed, manufacturers Hybrid Air Vehicles tweeted: “Landed. Just a quick flight tonight to prove the concept and needed to land before dark. #Airlander.”
Bystanders who witnessed the momentous event described seeing the Airlander 10 taking off.
The aircraft doesn’t need a runway to take off like most planes but can operate from any land surface, snow, ice, desert and open water.
Airlander can stay for up to two weeks airborne when unmanned but five days when manned. It has a capacity of 10 tonnes of cargo at a maximum speed of 91 miles per hour.
According to the manufacturer, the aircraft can be used for surveillance, communications and humanitarian aid deliveries. 
The Airlander 10 uses helium to stay afloat, unlike other notable aircrafts.
According to Hybrid Air Vehicles, it can also withstand “numerous bullet holes” and operate “in all weather conditions.”


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