In the late 1700s until the early 1900s, if you wanted to fly you did so with a hot air balloon, aerostat, blimp, dirigible or Zeppelin. The early airship was the only ticket in town for flight until the airplane can along. But then in the 1930s, a couple of high-profile airships crashed, punctuated by the Hindenburg disaster on May 6, 1937. Over 80 years later, the airship is attempting to make a triumphant comeback.
Introducing the Airlander 10, a helium airship that is part helicopter and part airplane. British aviation company Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited (HAV) created the Airlander 10, the world’s largest aircraft. The $33 million airship is 302-feet-long, making it 62 feet longer than the world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380. You may also have noticed that the aircraft looks like a giant butt. Good to see that Sir Mix-A-Lot has moved on from his music career to design blimps.
The Airlander is powered by four diesel engine-powered propellers, but don’t expect this to be great for business travel. The Kim Kardashian-inspired vehicle can only reach max speeds of 91 mph, but that’s the beauty of the Airlander 10. The airship travels for up to three days making it more like a luxury yacht in the air. Plus you can take off and land on any terrain, even ice, sand or water.
A comforting and extravagant interior welcomes up to 19 passengers. There are fine dining areas with breathtaking panoramic views as well as a sky-bar and infinity lounge. There are even glass floors so you can enjoy the magnificent view as you glide over the Earth and enjoy the aerial view. There are private suite bedrooms with beautiful horizon-to-horizon views. The opulent interior was created by award-winning UK-based design company Design Q.
So remember at the beginning of the article where I referenced that catastrophic crashes doomed the airship in the 1930s? Yeah, well, even in 2018, it turns out that humans still haven’t mastered the art of flight by dirigibles. Since the Airlander 10’s first flight on August 2016, the aircraft has crashed twice. The vehicle has completed six successful test flights, but it must complete 200 incident-free hours in the sky before it can transport passengers. You might want to forgo being on the maiden voyage and wait until they get all the kinks out.