Since the crash of the Hindenburg in 1937 airship enthusiasts have bemoaned the loss of this type craft as an integral part of our transportation infrastructure.
Well those days are over. Yesterday, London-based Hybrid Air Vehicles successfully filled their crowdfunding coffers to the tune of £500,000, within ten hours! The Airlander 10, which is now officially the worlds largest aircraft, is 302 feet long (60 feet longer than a jumbo jet), and combines aspects of a fixed wing aircraft, a helicopter, and a super-light airship. With four 325 horsepower V8 diesel engines, it can cruise at speeds of up to 91 miles per hour and carry a payload of up to 10 tonnes.
The ship’s retractable pneumatic “skids” allow it to land anywhere, including sand, water or ice. It can reach heights of up to 16,000 feet and stay aloft for five days, making it ideal, say its creators, for surveillance, cargo drops or even leisure excursions. The company plans to put Airlander 10 into mass production by 2018 and crank out as many as half a dozen giant hybrid airships a year.
If the concept takes off, these enormous airships could have unlimited potential as floating luxury resorts, high-volume cargo transportation, military assets, and even a sky-high safari-mobile. To watch video of the Airlander 10 in action, click here.