The Next Generation of Cargo Airship Has Taken to the Sky
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The Airlander 10, the world’s largest aircraft, successfully completed a 180-minute test flight on May 10. The massive airship, which is designed to stay airborne at altitudes of up to 20,000 feet for five days at a time, combines technology from airships, airplanes and helicopters. With its recent triumphant test flight, the cargo ship is one step closer to commercial flight.
Check out this massive flying machine in this week’s crazy aviation video, below:
The mammoth airship may not be the most efficient way for travelers to get from Point A to Point B, but the Airlander is far faster than cargo ships — it can reach speeds of up to 90 mph — and it can carry 22,050 pounds of equipment. While that barely compares to the 308,000 pounds that a Boeing 747-8 freighter can haul, the 747-8F can only stay airborne for about 14 hours.
While five days may seem like a long time to stay airborne, other airships in development are looking to stay aloft for up to three weeks. Aside from the long duration aloft, airships do not need the infrastructure of normal airplanes like runways and airports, allowing them to reach isolated regions. Finally, these airships are much better for the environment and could help to reduce cargo planes’ contribution to climate change.
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What do you think of the so-called “Flying Bum”?
Featured image courtesy of Justin Tallis via Getty Images.
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