Britain has unveiled the world’s largest aircraft—a 300 feet long monster which is part plane, airship and helicopter, capable of flying non-stop for three weeks without refuelling. This £60 million new airship is about 60 feet longer than the biggest airliners, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8. Plans are to include two hovercraft type vehicles to the bottom so that the plane can land safely even on water. Capable of carrying 50 passengers on board, the company developing it says it is expected to transport 50 tonnes of freight. Once completed for flight later in this year, the aircraft will be even bigger—390 feet long, 196 feet wide and 115 feet high—making it taller than London’s iconic clock tower the Big Ben. It has been created by Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd (HAV). The plane has had a test flight on American skies. Originally developed for the US military, the helium-filled hybrid Airlander project was scrapped owing to budget cuts. The British company now developing it believes the aircraft will change air travel forever because of the low levels of fuel use and noise pollution. Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, one of the shareholders in the parent company making the ship compared it to Thunderbird 2 and described the creation as a “game changer.” Britain meanwhile pumped £2.5 million grant to fund research into energy efficient and quieter planes.
HAV also disclosed plans of producing 1,000 of these type of airships. Mr Stephen McGlennan, chief executive, said: “HAV can solve aerospace industry’s key challenges—creating a viable low-carbon aircraft which can travel for days and for thousands of miles without refuelling, landing without the need for airports.”