The Airlander 10, the world’s largest aircraft, moves to the commercial model


London (CNN) – The world’s largest aircraft was retired after six test flights, as its developers prepare to build a new business model to take to the skies in the early 2020s.

The Airlander 10 prototype, a hybrid helium airship built by Hybrid Air Vehicles, based in Bedfordshire in central England, is 300 feet long – and has been nicknamed the “flying bum” because of its shape. unhappy.

Its “luxury” variant was officially unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK in July, after a development process that was hit by high-profile setbacks, including a crash landing on its second flight.

Hybrid Air Vehicles will now begin work on the production version of the prototype, having obtained approval from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The Deluxe Airlander has a 150 foot long cabin with luxurious en-suite bedrooms, an onboard “altitude” bar and glass floors.

“Passengers can sip cocktails while taking in skyline-to-horizon views and live comfortably in double cabins with en-suite bathrooms while hovering over and landing in amazing, remote and unvisited places,” said a spokesperson for the company.

It can reach heights of up to 6,100 meters (16,000 feet) and will accommodate three-day expeditions for up to 19 passengers.

The Airlander 10, a spectacularly sized helium-pumped aircraft, is unveiled fully assembled for the first time, in a giant aviation hangar near London.

The company also says its production model will “rethink the skies” and aims for the aircraft to be low carbon. The new model will be of a similar size to the prototype, although the exact dimensions are yet to be confirmed.

Hybrid Air Vehicles hailed the award of CAA’s Production Organization Approval (POA), which allows it to proceed with the manufacture and assembly of production components, as a “milestone.”

“The POA is the regulator’s seal of approval to allow us to move forward with Airlander 10 production on the path to type certification. This puts us in an excellent position for 2019,” said the company’s executive director, Nick Allman, in a statement.

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