Published: Mon, November 20, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

World's largest aircraft breaks free

World's largest aircraft breaks free

It crashed at Cardington base in Bedfordshire for a second time, with engineers now trying to assess the future of the aircraft.

According to reports, the world's largest aircraft apparently broke free of its mooring mast on Saturday morning and was deflated as a safety precaution. Roads surrounding the airfield were immediately closed off amid concerns that aviation fuel and helium could escape from the aircraft.

It's not clear how or why the massive aircraft, which is an inflatable flying wing design, came loose and that's being investigated. On an earlier flight, the aircraft was heavily damaged in a nose-first landing.

World's largest aircraft breaks free
World's largest aircraft breaks free

The 92 metre-long airship, which has already cost about £100 million to develop, crashed into a telegraph pole in only its second ever United Kingdom flight when its mooring lines got tangled with power lines on August 24 2016.

Just one day after successfully completing its sixth test flight, the Airlander 10 has suffered a major setback.

A safety system which automatically rips open the hull and deflates the aircraft went into operation once it broke free, HAV said, leaving the aircraft needing repairs before it is operational again.

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The Airlander 10, which costs 25 million British pounds (Dh121 million) is a combination of a plane and an airship.

Nicknamed "the Flying Bum" because of its appearance when viewed from behind, it was originally developed by the U.S. government for use in surveillance before cutbacks saw it shelved.

"We are testing a brand new type of aircraft and incidents of this nature can occur during this phase of development", HAV says in a statement.

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HAV believes it could be used for a variety of functions, such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel.

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