World`s largest hybrid aircraft comes to life
London: British engineers have created the 302ft (92m) Airlander, which is a part plane, airship and helicopter.
It can stay in the air for up to three weeks unmanned and is capable of touching down on land or sea, the Independent reported.
Cranfield-based Hybrid Air Vehicles showed off their creation they said could also set a new benchmark for greener aircraft.
Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson, who is also a professional airline pilot and co-funded the Airlander, compared the 30-million-pound aircraft to Thunderbird 2 and declared it a momentous day in aviation history.
The Airlander is about 60ft longer than the biggest airliners, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8. It is also almost 30ft longer than the cargo-carrying Antonov An-225, which until now was the longest aircraft ever built.
Although resembling an airship with its giant helium-filled balloon on top of a 150ft long flight deck, the Airlander`s unique aerodynamic shape means it can generate lift like an aeroplane wing - and it`s going to get bigger.
The prototype on display in Cardington is the forerunner of the Airlander 50, a 50-tonne heavy lift hybrid vehicle that should be in the air this time next year.
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