World's longest aircraft goes into full production

@ 2019/01/14
Part plane part airship dubbed the flying bum

The world's longest aircraft, which is part airplane and part airship is set to go into full production with the model designed to take its first passengers.

It comes after the prototype £32 million Airlander 10 - a combined plane and airship - was formally retired following successful final testing.

Bedford firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) recieved Production Organisation Approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The firm was given Design Organisation Approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) in October.

Stephen McGlennan, HAV's chief executive, said 2018 had been postive with Easa's backing a "huge highlight".

He said the firm had changed its focus last year towards the production of Airlander 10 as a commercial aircraft for customers.

"The prototype served its purpose as the world's first full-sized hybrid aircraft, providing us with the data we needed to move forward from prototype to production standard," he said.

It is now hoped the full commercial model will take to the skies with its first paying passengers "in the early 2020s".

Airlander 10 hit the headlines in 2017, when the prototype broke in two after breaking its moorings and deflating, in November that year, less than 24 hours after completing its sixth successful test flight.

HAV submitted a £32 million insurance claim after the prototype crash, telling its shareholders this was the "maximum insured value".

Approval from the CAA and Easa now puts the firm in a "strong position to launch production".

In July, it revealed it planned to offer "luxury expeditions" once all tests were successfully completed.

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