World Longest aircraft Airlander or HAV304 was unveiled at Cardington in Bedfordshire, Britain in the first week of March. The aircraft looks like a giant blimp and is being manufactured by the Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd (HAV).
Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden is one of the high-profile investors funding the aircraft along with the UK government funding the aircraft with 2.5 million pounds grant.
About the Aircraft
• The aircraft is 302 feet long and is a hybrid aircraft. That plane resembles both an airship as well as a helicopter. It is 60 feet longer than the biggest airlines, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.
• It is also almost 30ft (8m) longer than the airlift cargo aircraft Antonov An-225, which was until now the longest aircraft ever built.
• The airship is capable of flying non-stop for three weeks without refuelling and will travel across the difficult terrain throughout the world as well as deliver aid to risky areas
• The aircraft has been developed at an expense of about 60 million Euros to manufacture and will be used for communications
• The low carbon ship is about 70 per cent more environmentally friendly than a cargo plane as it is filled with inert helium
• It is capable to transport up to 50 tonnes of freight and passengers
• It will also be used for surveillance and communications
• It can land via remote control and is capable of landing on water
The aircraft is at present housed at Cardington hangar which was built 100 years ago and where the ill-fated airship, R101, was built in the 1920s. The R101 was twice as long as the hybrid air vehicle and had a dining room and lounge on board. However, it was engulfed by fire after it crashed in France in 1930.
Originally the aircraft was being developed by the HAV for the US military but the project was discarded due to budget cuts. But the project was again started by HAV with funding from UK government. Britain is funding the project as it believes that it will change air travel forever because of the low levels of fuel and noise pollution.