Hybrid Air Vehicles, the firm that built this blimp for the U.S. Army, has bought it back in the hope of reviving the biggest aircraft in the world.
The biggest aircraft in the world has been grounded since 2013. But with a little cash infusion from the British government, it soon could be flying again.
This 300-foot behemoth is the Airlander 10. It was built by Hybrid Air Vehicles in the U.K. for the United States Army, which selected the airship to be the aircraft for its Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) program, an attempt to bring back blimps for new military uses. The ship took a test flight over New Jersey in 2012, but the Pentagon, citing money problems, cut the LEMV program in 2013.
That wasn't the end for the airship, though. Hybrid Air Vehicles bought the Airlander back from the Army, and now a £3.4 million grant from the U.K. government could get the aircraft off the ground again.
Where the U.S. government sought to use the Airlander 10 for military surveillance,The Verge reports that Britain is more interested in civilian uses such as carrying cargo or passengers. The point of airships is their long endurance and low fuel use, and the Airlander can carry 20,000 pounds for five straight days while using just 10 to 20 percent as much energy as a helicopter.
Let's see this beast back in the air, Britain.