The British Airlander 10: A Look at the World’s Largest Aircraft

Ever wonder what the world’s largest aircraft is? That accolade goes to the Hybrid Air Vehicle (HAV) 3014/Airlander 10. Developed in 2012, it towers above all other types of aircraft. As shown in the image to the left, the Airlander 10 isn’t just a typical fixed-wing airplane. Rather, it’s a hybrid aircraft that’s designed like a blimp. To learn more about this massively sized aircraft, keep reading.

What Is the Airlander 10?

The Airlander 10 is a hybrid blimp-airplane designed and developed by the British-based aerospace manufacturing company HAV. It features a helium-filled blimp affixed with two small horizontal wings and a vertical tail. While there’s currently only a single Airlander 10 in existence, HAV is currently planning to produce several more in the coming months and years.

HAV originally developed the Airlander 10 for the United States Army. Prior to its inception, the United States Army began a program to explore new aircraft designs for its Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) program. This spurred the development of the Airlander 10, which took its maiden flight on Aug. 7, 2012.

How Big Is the Airlander 10?

To say the Airlander 10 is big would be an understatement. In terms of dimensional size, it ranks as the world’s largest aircraft. The Airlander 10 is approximately 302 feet long, which is even longer than Airbus’s renowned Beluga aircraft. It’s so big, in fact, that it can’t be stored in a traditional hanger. Rather, the Airlander 10 must be deflated and then transported to a special hanger for storage.

With its massive-sized blimp, the Airlander 10 is capable of carrying large payloads. Reports show that Airlander 10 has a maximum payload capacity of about 22,000 pounds.

How Does the Airlanader 10 Generate Lift?

Like all types of aircraft, the Airlander 10 must generate, as well as maintain, lift to stay in the air. While most airplanes rely exclusively on aerodynamic forces to generate lift, the Airlander 10 uses a combination of both aerodynamic and aerostatic forces for this purpose.

Perhaps even more impressive is the Airlander 10’s ability to stay in the air for extended periods. When manned by a crew, it can stay in the air for up to five days. Without a crew, on the other hand, it can stay in the air for up to 14 days.

To recap, the Airlander 10 is a hybrid aircraft developed by the British aerospace manufacturing company HAV. Based on dimensional size, it’s the world’s largest aircraft, even surpassing the Airbus Beluga.