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World’s largest aircraft returns to flight in 2016
Airlander, the world’s largest aircraft, will return to flight this year, according to manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV).
Also known as HAV-3, the 92-metre airship is currently undergoing engine testing. Most recently, it has had aft carbon composite battens added to provide structural support to the rear engines, as well as a port tailcone and its first engine pylon. In November, it received its first helium fill at Cardington, Bedfordshire, in the UK.
Airlander 10 will be able to fly for five days non-stop if successful, landing on any surface without the need for airport infrastructure, thanks to its four 325hp turbocharged diesel engines. Its immense cargo-carrying capacity means that it has the potential to significantly disrupt the air freight market.
The market for Airlander has been validated at more than $50 billion over the next two decades. So far it has raised over £60 million in customer funding, £12 million in equity funding, and £6 million in grants.
Its maiden test flight is scheduled for early this year.
(Source: The Engineer)