Airlander 10 airship completes successful test flight

Airlander 10, the British aircraft, completed a successful test flight this week.

Airlander 10 hit the headlines in 2016 when it nosedived on its maiden test flight. Now, it has successfully completed a test flight, flying for three hours before making a safe landing at its base at Cardington near Bedford.

“It was truly amazing to be back in the air. I loved every minute of the flight and the Airlander itself handled superbly. I am eager to get back into the cockpit and take her flying again,” said Dave Burns, chief test pilot. Also on board was Simon Davies, the experimental test pilot.

The three-phase flight test programme now continues from where it left off last year, with each phase introducing more challenging and far-reaching tasks. The objectives of this week’s flight were to complete safe take-off, flight and landing; establish basic handling characteristics and assessment of the Auxiliary Landing System, which was introduced following last year’s flight; and collection of flight performance data for post-flight analysis. All were successfully completed.

Designed to combine the buoyancy of an airship with the aerodynamics of an aeroplane’s wing, the Airlander 10 can theoretically be airborne for several weeks and can potentially have applications in search and rescue, border control, coastguarding, crowd monitoring, security, filming, academic research and filming. It is also planned to have applications in point-to-point cargo transportation to areas which have no other easy and economical transport access.

Chris Daniels, Head of Partnerships at Hybrid Air Vehicles – the company behind the project – said: “The reasons for the heavy landing are well understood and have been published by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch. We have now made a number of modifications and repaired the damage caused. The ALS performed as expected on landing and the Flight Test Team were very pleased with the initial analysis of this new addition to Airlander’s landing system.”

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