The world’ largest aircraft went up for a second flight and had a bit of a rough landing. The Airlander 10, according to Wikipedia, “is a hybrid airship designed and manufactured by the UK company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV). Comprising an airship with auxiliary wing and tail surfaces, it flies using both aerostatic and aerodynamic lift. Powered by four diesel-engine driven ducted propellers, it is the largest aircraft flying today.”
“Today the prototype Airlander 10 undertook its second test flight and flew for 100 minutes, completing all the planned tasks before returning to Cardington to land. The Airlander experienced a heavy landing and the front of the flight deck has sustained some damage which is currently being assessed,” Hybrid Air Vehicles, a British aviation firm that created the Airlander, said in statement.
Everyone on board was fine. But I couldn’t help but think about an episode of Archer…
The Airlander 10 is expected to be the next thing in luxury travel. If you watch that entire episode of Archer, by the way, it’s about an airship Mallory Archer invested in… because it would be the next thing in luxury travel. (It does not go well for her).
Presently in the testing phase, Hybrid Air Vehicles, the company behind the Airlander, hopes to have the vehicle in the sky by early 2016 and is marketing it as the newest thing in luxury travel, with tables and even a cocktail bar.
The company claims the Airlander will offer travelers a flight option that offers “major improvements in safety, operating costs, environmental impact and operational flexibility.”
The problem is that while these airships cost around $40 million, which runs cheaper than large airplanes, they only go about 100 miles an hour.
Even if the experience is extremely luxurious, I’m going to have to side with Archer on this one. The closest thing in my mind to this is a cruise ship. But on a cruise ship, you’re also experiencing the ocean. They would need to fly low enough to really sight-see, though they do have ambitions to find a way to do air-safaris with these. And I suppose they would be calmer than a helicopter ride. But I’m not sure they would get the air clearance to do things like that (at least in the US).
Here’s a CGI example of a type of trip they want to offer on the Airlander–a tour of the Grand Canyon:
Either way, if anyone asked me to fly in one of these, I’d say yes. I just don’t think I’d want to do a transatlantic in one.
As for the crash, the craft moves so slowly, it’s difficult to tell the difference between landing and crashing. Check out the footage here.