Airlander completes a perfect test flight

When we last reported on the Airlander, it was to cover the giant lighter-than-air craft’s very slow crash into the ground after hitting, get this, what they called a telegraph pole. The pilots, no doubt wearing leather helmets and sheepskin jackets, were not injured.

Airlander rear© Airlander/ why it was nicknamed "the flying bum"
Now Martin at Designboom reports that it has taken to the air again. The press release from Hybrid Vehicles quotes the pilots:

.. - / .-- .- ... / - .-. ..- .-.. -.-- / .- -- .- --.. .. -. --. / - --- / -... . / -... .- -.-. -.- / .. -. / - .... . / .- .. .-. .-.-.- / .. / .-.. --- ...- . -.. / . ...- . .-. -.-- / -- .. -. ..- - . / --- ..-. / - .... . / ..-. .-.. .. --. .... - / .- -. -.. / - .... . / .- .. .-. .-.. .- -. -.. . .-. / .. - ... . .-.. ..-. / .... .- -. -.. .-.. . -.. / ... ..- .--. . .-. -... .-.. -.-- .-.-.- / .. / .- -- / . .- --. . .-. / - --- / --. . - / -... .- -.-. -.- / .. -. - --- / - .... . / -.-. --- -.-. -.- .--. .. - / .- -. -.. / - .- -.- . / .... . .-. / ..-. .-.. -.-- .. -. --. / .- --. .- .. -. .-.-.-

Sorry, all that talk about dirigibles and telegraph poles, I couldn't help myself. Here it is in regular alphabet:

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 Chief Test Pilot, Dave Burns.

airlander up close© Airlander
Since the last “heavy landing” they have beefed up the Mobile Mooring Mast and added additional “landing feet.” It apparently performed perfectly.

Lighter-than-air craft may well be the most TreeHugger-correct transportation mode since the bicycle:

Airlanders are low noise, low pollution, and are environmentally-friendly. They have ultra-long endurance, and a point-to-point cargo-carrying capacity….Ultimately the Airlander 10 will break the mould of aviation, providing an ultra-stable, ultra-powerful and ultra-long endurance platform that will be useful in a huge number of roles from search and rescue, to border control, coastguarding, crowd monitoring, security, filming, academic research and filming. There will also be passenger variants for the ultimate flying experience and eventually Hybrid Air Vehicles will fulfil a crucial role in point-to-point cargo transportation to remote areas.

Airlander in air© Airlander
TreeHugger has worried about Peak Helium and whether we should be saving the gas for superconductors and MRI machines, but new supplies have been found that significantly extend the supply, and this is certainly a less frivolous use than party balloons and floating Kermits. So perhaps in the not too distant future we may be sightseeing by Airlander, the latest in slow travel.
airlander in sky© Airlander

Tags: Airplanes | Designboom

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