Airlander 10, World's Largest Airship Dubbed 'Flying Bum,' Takes Maiden Voyage

by Carolin Sri-Narayana and Jonathan Klein /  / Updated 
Image: The Airlander 10 hybrid airship makes its maiden flight at Cardington Airfield in Britain
The Airlander10 hybrid airship makes its maiden flight at Cardington Airfield in Britain, August 17.DARREN STAPLES / Reuters

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

CARDINGTON AIRFIELD, England — The world's largest aircraft has taken off on its maiden flight.

The 302-foot-long Airlander 10 is filled with 1.3 million cubic feet of helium, can reach an altitude of up to 16,000 feet, and stay in the air for five days.

Manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles says the aircraft can be used for surveillance, communications and humanitarian aid deliveries.

Image: The Airlander 10 hybrid airship makes its maiden flight at Cardington Airfield in Britain
The Airlander 10 hybrid airship makes its maiden flight on Wednesday.DARREN STAPLES / Reuters

Its first flight was cancelled on Sunday due to a technical problem.

After several more delays Wednesday, the Airlander finally took off just before sunset.

It stayed airborne for about 20 minutes at an airfield about 35 miles north of London.

In case it isn't immediately clear, the Airlander 10 earned its "Flying Bum" nickname due to the resemblance its plump front end shares with a human's back end.

Hybrid Air Vehicles has been working on the project since 2007.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
  • Contributors
  • Alyssa Newcomb
MORE FROM news