World's largest aircraft prepares for first test flight

Airlander 10 can fly for five days straight

Updated: 
Giant Aircraft Set for Take-Off

The world's largest aircraft, which is the size of a football pitch, is just weeks away from its first test flight.

Airlander 10, a balloon-like aircraft that is a cross between an airship and an aeroplane, was first developed for the US Army in 2009 but has been re-imagined for commercial use after the project was abandoned.

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It can carry up to 10 tons and could transport 48 passengers while flying continuously for five days at 80 knots (92mph), Sky News reports.

Bedford-based Hybrid Air Vehicles made the craft and plans for leisure cruises as well as transporting cargo to hard-to-reach places in the future.

Chris Daniels, spokesman for the company, told Sky News: "It uses the latest materials, it's got the latest fly-by-night technology, avionics and computer software.

"It's very much an aircraft for the 21st century."

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