Airlander 10 damaged during second test flight

The Airlander 10 airship, seen here on its maiden flight with a helicopter escort(Credit: Hybrid Air Vehicles)

The world's largest aircraft, Airlander 10, crashed today during its second test flight. No one was hurt in the incident, but the airship, from Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), sustained damage to its flight deck, which is positioned underneath the hull.

The aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight last week, making a circuit around Cardington Airfield in the UK, where it is being tested. HAV explains that today's test saw Airlander 10 fly for 100 minutes before attempting to land.

In a short statement on its website, HAV says "the Airlander experienced a heavy landing." Video footage of the incident shows the nose of the airship pointing down towards the ground, rather than the remaining level with its rear.

Both pilots and the ground crew involved in the test are said to be unharmed and the airship is now moored at its normal location. HAV says it will be running "a robust set of procedures for flight test activities and investigation of issues" over the coming days, as it continues to develop the aircraft.

The Airlander 10 airship measures 92 x 43.5 x 26 m (302 x 143 x 85 ft) and is capable of carrying payloads up to 10,000 kg (22,050 lb). It is made buoyant by virtue of its helium-filled hull and is powered by four 325-hp (242-kW), turbocharged diesel engines. These allow it to take off using aerodynamic lift, as is the case with conventional airplanes. An earlier planned maiden flight was delayed due to a technical problem.

The company says further updates will be provided "in due course."

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