AT 302 FEET THE LONGEST AIRCRAFT IN THE WORLD, THE AIRLANDER 10 HYBRID BLIMP PROMISES FIVE DAYS OF LUXURY FOR 19 LUCKY PASSENGERS
BY TIA KIM
The Hindenburg disaster, which occurred in Lakehurst, NJ on May 6 of 1937, capped a series of unfortunate PR moments in which bad design, highly flammable gas, and simple misadventure communicated indelibly that the roughly 20 year era of blimp passenger transportation was a bit of a too much too soon proposition. Thereafter, these vehicles have been relegated to novelty acts like sports broadcasting and advertising, along with some research functions, but the grand days marked by the Graf Zeppelin and the USS Los Angeles seemed decidedly over.
Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited wants to make us think lighter than air again.
The British company launched a prototype of its Airlander 10 in 2016 part lighter than air blimp, part plane motivated by the many virtues of blimp conveyance, not least that they “produce less noise, less pollution, have a lower carbon footprint, longer endurance, and better cargo carrying capacity than virtually any other flying vehicle,” according to a company statement.
Dubbed “the flying bum” because of its cleft rear design, the Airlander was conceived in cooperation with the company Design Q to provide luxury accommodations for 19 passengers at a gentle speed of 91 miles per hour, but with a duration capacity of no less than five days, which translates to (roughly accommodating for wind) a 9,000 mile range. At 302 feet, it is currently the world’s longest aircraft, and its 151 footlong cabin significantly larger than those found in most single aisle aircraft. Still in flight testing, the airship’s launch date may yet be a few years away, but memberships in the company’s Airlander Club will give prospective passengers first crack at tickets.
Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited / 239 Ampthill Road, Bedford, UK /