Britain unveils the world's longest aircraft


Blackleaf
#1
The world's longest aicraft has today been unveiled in Bedfordshire.

The machine - which looks like an airship but isn't - is called an Airlander.

It has a length of 302ft (92m) and is about 60ft longer than the biggest airliners, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.

It is also almost 30ft longer than the massive cargo-carrying Antonov An-225, which until now was the longest aircraft ever built.

It is two-and-a-half times longer than the distance covered by the Wright brothers' first powered flight.

Designed and built in Britain by the British company Hybrid Air Vehicles the Airlander is so vast it has had to be stored in one of the two huge hangars at RAF Cardington in Bedfordshire which is where Britain's airships of the early 20th Century were built. Each hangar is big enough to hold the Titanic.

After the Airlander was built the British sold it to the US military, but the Americans sold it back to the British because of US military cuts.

Bruce D ickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden and a pilot, has called the Airlander "a game changer". He wants to build more of these things, sell them and to fly one of them from pole to pole.

Yet the Airlander doesn't need a pilot. The whole vast flying machine can be landed by remote control and it can also land on water.

Yet if you this aircraft is big, just wait until Hybrid Air Vehicles build and even BIGGER aircraft which will be able to carry 50 tonnes at a time.

The first UK flight of the Airlander will take place later this year.



World's longest aircraft is unveiled in UK


By Richard Westcott
BBC transport correspondent
28 February 2014





The world's longest aircraft has just been unveiled in Britain's biggest aircraft hangar.

At first, you might mistake it for a giant airship - gas-filled balloon on top, pod slung underneath.

But the unique, aerodynamic shape of the balloon - it looks as if a series of cigars has been sewn together - means it can also generate lift just like an aeroplane wing.

That is key, because it enables the designers to make the machine heavier than air, which cuts the need to have dozens of crew hanging on to ropes holding it down every time you land.

In fact, you can land it via remote control with no-one on board at all if you like. And on water if needs be.

Let me put it into perspective for you.

This thing is two-and-a-half times longer than the distance covered by the Wright brothers' first powered flight.

With a length of 302ft (92m) the new airship is about 60ft longer than the biggest airliners, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.

It is also almost 30ft longer than the massive cargo-carrying Antonov An-225, which until now was the longest aircraft ever built.


The hybrid airship is "a game changer", says Iron Maiden's Bruce D ickinson


Government funding

It costs about $100m (60m) and the designers are planning an even bigger version that will eventually be able to carry 50 tonnes at a time.

The company developing it has now received 2.5m of government funding to develop the technology and engineering for the project.

"We are jointly funding 2bn of research and development into the next generation of quieter, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly planes," says Business Secretary Vince Cable.

"That includes backing projects like Hybrid Air Vehicles' innovative low carbon aircraft which can keep us at the cutting edge of new technology.

"Here is a British SME that has the potential to lead the world in its field."


Vast: Cardington's hangars at RAF Cardington in Bedfordshire were built for Britain's early 20th Century airships


The hangars are so vast they would have been able to hold the Titanic. Movies including Batman Begins, Inception, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines were filmed inside the hangars.

'We'll fly over the Amazon'

All of which will be welcome news to one of the project's high-profile investors, Bruce D ickinson.

He is one of those people who can't stop achieving stuff.

As if being the lead singer of one of the world's most successful and enduring rock bands, Iron Maiden, was not enough, he is also an airline pilot, businessman, and is investing in this project.

"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."

He wants to sell them and he'll be very good at it. As we chat in the hangar, he goes through its credentials.

It is 70% greener than a cargo plane, he says. It doesn't need a runway, just two crew. And it can plonk 50 tonnes anywhere in the world you like, which is 50 times more than a helicopter.

He wants to drum up publicity with the kind of trip Richard Branson would dream up. A non-stop flight around the world - twice.

"It seizes my imagination. I want to get in this thing and fly it pole to pole," he says.

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


A first British flight is scheduled for later this year

Historic hangars

It is not surprising that we had to go to Britain's biggest aircraft hangar to see the world's longest aircraft.

For the best view, we had to climb the world's scariest staircase too (safe of course, but not one for the faint-hearted).

Cardington shed number one, in Bedfordshire, is nearly as impressive as the flying machine inside it.

Built 100 years ago, it dominates the skyline around here (along with its neighbour Cardington number two shed) and it is bristling with history. This is where they built the ill-fated airship, R101, back in the 1920s.

That behemoth was twice as long as the hybrid air vehicle, had a beautiful dining room and lounge on board, and was meant to herald the future of flight, right up until the moment it was devoured by fire after a crash in France in 1930.

Technology has come a long way since then. The Hybrid Air Vehicle (HAV) is full of inert helium, not explosive hydrogen.

The HAV is back in the UK after the US Army ran out of money to develop the project.


The advantage of modern airships is they can deliver supplies to remote areas, say supporters

Flight plans

The US military bought it a few years ago and got this aircraft flying as a surveillance machine - it can stay in the same spot for 21 days at a time, and can fly with a lot of bullet holes in it too.

When the US defence budget was slashed, the British developers bought it back, and now they are planning the first UK flight later this year.

They are hoping to sell it to oil and mining companies to deliver heavy equipment to remote corners of the world. But they are also keen to sell its humanitarian possibilities.

The HAV, which has been named Airlander, could ferry tonnes of supplies to and from any disaster zone, day in and day out.

All you would need is a crew of two and a patch of ground, or water on which to land.

BBC News - World's longest aircraft is unveiled in UK
Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 28th, 2014 at 06:22 AM..
 
lone wolf
#2
How's it handle wind?
 
petros
#3
Remember that UFO story you post BL?
 
MHz
#4
I've got a lake in the Wolverine Mountains that is 270miles long. Is there a weekend tourism model? The longer route would probably want a faster model is Jasper and Banff areas were to be included. 160 passengers for a day cruise and they need a sky-diving certificate in order to board.
 
WLDB
#5
Maybe the largest today but far from the largest ever. The thing is half the length of the airships built in the 20s and 30s.
 
L Gilbert
+2
#6  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

The world's longest aicraft has today been unveiled in Bedfordshire.

BBC News - World's longest aircraft is unveiled in UK

Holy crap! That's some looooooong compensation, alrighty.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/defin...20compensation
 
Blackleaf
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Remember that UFO story you post BL?


I've posted lots.

But if this thing flies over people's houses at night later this year and all people see is a dark, mysterious shape in the sky with some lights then people will wonder what the hell it is.
 
captain morgan
+1
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post







BBC News - World's longest aircraft is unveiled in UK

 
Liberalman
#9
It's about time I first heard about it in 2012 This is a game changer and will greatly reduce the need for ships for cargo.

The massive airship that could replace trucks in the Arctic






 
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