Inside Airlander 10, the world's longest aircraft

It may not have the most attractive exterior, but it seems the Airlander 10 -- currently the world's longest...

Posted: Aug 7, 2018 3:00 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2018 3:00 PM

It may not have the most attractive exterior, but it seems the Airlander 10 -- currently the world's longest aircraft -- will more than make up for this on the inside.

Known as the "flying bum" due to its rather unusual shape, the hybrid helium airship built by Hybrid Air Vehicles is to feature an interior to rival that of a luxury hotel or cruise liner.

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With its 46-meter-long cabin boasting plush en suite bedrooms, an on-board "altitude" bar and glass flooring that provides horizon-to-horizon views, the curvaceous craft will provide an opulent flying experience to those lucky (and wealthy) enough to travel on board.

The impressive design plans, developed in collaboration with design consultancy Design Q, were unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow in July.

Once launched, the aircraft, which can reach heights of up to 6,100 meters (16,000 feet) will host three-day expeditions for a maximum of 19 passengers.

Traveling in style

"Airlander challenges people to rethink the skies -- that's the driving force behind everything we do," Stephen McGlennan, CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles, said in a statement.

"Air travel has become very much about getting from A to B as quickly as possible. What we're offering is a way of making the journey a joy."

The aircraft can take off and land from virtually any flat surface, which eliminates the need for traditional infrastructure such as ports or airports.

Part-airship, part-helicopter, part-plane, the 92-meter-long Airlander 10 owes its buoyancy to 38,000 cubic meters of helium.

The pressure of the lighter-than-air gas helps maintain the aerodynamic shape of a hull made from carbon fiber, Kevlar and Mylar.

That figure, which resembles a rather large posterior, provides 40% of Airlander's lift as it flies through the air.

How real is the hypersonic revolution?

Unfortunate shape

It's also fitted with four 325 horsepower V8 diesel engines that can propel it to speeds of up to 148 kilometers per hour (91 mph) and provide vertical thrust for horizontal takeoffs.

Beneath it is space for a payload capable of carrying up to 10 tonnes and a set of retractable pneumatic "skids" that can be used for landing on land, sand, water or ice.

"We see it as the future," Nick Allman, HAV's program director, told CNN Travel. "It's going to be cheaper, it's going to be greener, we're going to be able to go to places we can't go to and from now.

The airship's environmental credentials come from its greatly reduced fuel consumption and engine noise levels, in comparison to jet planes.

Airlander 10 hangs on to its helium, which is divided into several compartments. These can be manipulated to help control the aircraft but also provide fail-safes in case one is breached.

Altitude is altered by inflating or deflating auxiliary air bags known as "ballonets," and by altering its speed -- without forward momentum it gently glides to the ground.

Flying from New York to London in 11 minutes

'Special machine'

CNN Travel was on hand to witness the aircraft in all its glory when it was unveiled fully assembled in a giant hangar north of London in 2016.

"It's really quite a special machine to fly," said test pilot David Burns.

"The view from the flight deck is excellent because of the large windows and the airship characteristics, flying at a fairly lowish altitude."

Airlander 10 has successfully completed six test flights so far, but there have been some incidents along the way, such as a collapse in the UK when the aircraft came loose from its moorings

It still needs to prove its safety credentials to the relevant aviation authorities by completing 200 hours of test flights without any incidents before being offered to prospective customers.

However, if it does proves successful, blueprints have already been drawn up for Airlander 50, a bigger, better version capable of lifting five times the cargo.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
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Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
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Washington5427138
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Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
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Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
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Wayne264842
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George252451
Newton249064
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Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
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Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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