This is seriously bad news. On the 24th August, a week after its maiden flight, the Airlander botched its landing at Cardington airfield in Bedfordshire, 60 miles north of London.
The helium-filled juggernaut had just finished its second flight test and was getting ready to land when it all went pear-shaped. The Airlander 10 leant forward and then it was too late: the cockpit gently hit the ground. Thankfully, the two pilots came out unharmed but the cockpit was very badly damaged.
Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), the British company that designed the airship, has released a statement saying that an enquiry has been opened to determine the causes of the incident. One thing is for sure; this botched landing will delay certification of the Airlander 10, which had only just started its 200-hour flight tests.
Measuring 302ft long, 65ft longer than an Airbus A380, and 143ft wide, the Airlander is as tall as a 10-storey building. As such, it is the largest aircraft on the market worldwide. It is intended to be used for surveillance missions, freight transport and tourism. Equipped with four 325hp engines: two located at the rear and one on either side, it should be able to transport 50 passengers or 10 tonnes of freight at 90mph for five days. The theoretical range is therefore nearly 11,200 miles.