UK unveils world’s longest aircraft

Posted on 28 Feb 2014 by The Manufacturer

The world’s longest aircraft has been unveiled in the UK this morning.

The 302-ft long Hybrid Air Vehicle (HAV), which cost $100m (£60m) to design and build, is being stored in the two hangars at Cardington Airfield in Hertfordshire.

Dubbed the Airlander, the aircraft is believed to be 70% more environmentally friendly than a traditional cargo plane, runs on helium and doesn’t need a runway to take off.

The project had been curtailed in the US due to military cuts, but returned to the UK where plans are now afoot for its maiden flight later this year.

Speaking to the BBC, business secretary Vince Cable said: “We are jointly funding £2bn of research and development into the next generation of quieter, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly planes.

“That includes backing projects like Hybrid Air Vehicles’ innovative low carbon aircraft which can keep us at the cutting edge of new technology.

“Here is a British SME that has the potential to lead the world in its field.”

As well as receiving an additional £2.5m of government money has been received to continue technology and engineering developments, Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson has also invested in the project.

The rocker and airline pilot, who last year acquired £5m to invest into his Cardiff Aviation centre, now has ambitions to take the HAV on two non-stop trips across the world.