World's largest aircraft takes off on first flight since 2016 crash


The world's largest aircraft, Airlander 10, has taken off on its first flight since crashing last summer.

The part-plane, part-airship, which is the length of a football pitch, took to the skies above Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire shortly before 5.30pm on Wednesday.

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Manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) said the regulatory requirements of the flight mean the £25 million aircraft will travel within 15 miles of its base and at an altitude of no more than 4,000 feet.

No-one was injured when the aircraft - which is about 50ft (15 metres) longer than the biggest passenger jets - nose-dived and crashed last August, but the cockpit was severely damaged.

A pair of airbags have since been fitted to allow it to land at a greater range of angles.

Around 20 to 30 flights are expected to be carried out this summer as the aircraft conducts a high-profile tour to boost public awareness.

It uses helium to become airborne and can carry 10 tonnes of cargo.

It is 302ft (92 metres) long, 143ft (44 metres) wide, 85ft (26 metres) high and can travel at 92mph.

HAV believes it could be used for a variety of functions, such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel.

Chief test pilot Dave Burns said: "It was truly amazing to be back in the air. I loved every minute of the flight and the Airlander itself handled superbly.

"I am eager to get back into the cockpit and take her flying again."

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