Iron Maiden frontman invests in world's largest aircraft



The rock 'n' roll lifestyle is one steeped in excess - be it a whopping collection of rare supercars, a mansion with naked waitresses or, in Bruce Dickinson's case, a jumbo jet – rock musicians are renowned for splashing the cash on mind-blowing items.
> The Iron Maiden wailer has taken things to the next level by investing in the HAV Airlander project, or in other words, the world's largest aircraft. Dickinson has sunk $450,000 of his own money into the 91.4-metre long airship project that makes a Boeing 747 look like a Microlight in comparison.

But what is all the fuss about? Surely this is just a giant blimp, right? You would be incorrect as the unique, 'tubular' shape of the balloon means it can create lift like an aeroplane wing - even if it does look a bit like a giant inflatable bottom from the rear.

That means engineers have succeeded in making the floating balloon heavier than air, thus doing away with the need for hundreds of ground crew to hold on to ropes every time it comes in to land.

World's Longest Aircraft Unveiled

More importantly, the cutting-edge design can carry an impressive amount of cargo yet impacts less than comparable conventional aircraft in terms of noise and emissions.

Four turbocharged V8 engines - that produce 350bhp each - power a cluster of propellers at the rear of the ship, which can be flown continuously for 21 days straight as long as it has an airborne fuel supply.

The HAV Airlander can also set down in hard-to-reach spots thanks to a lack of landing gear. Instead, the giant blimp uses a set of inflatable tubes that provide a soft landing on land and sea.

According to the BBC, it costs about $100m (£60m) but the firm behind it is already designing a larger version that can transport an even more impressive payload.

World's Longest Aircraft Unveiled

Dickinson told the BBC: "It's a game changer, in terms of things we can have in the air and things we can do," he says.

"The airship has always been with us, it's just been waiting for the technology to catch up."

But the Iron Maiden frontman isn't too interested in its commercial uses; instead he wants to take it on a world tour.

"We'll fly over the Amazon at 20ft, over some of the world's greatest cities and stream the whole thing on the internet," he said.

What a great man.