World’s Longest Aircraft Prototype Retires: HAV Airlander 10 Gets Grounded

The infamous Airlander 10 is set to retired as it has completed its purpose. The Airlander 10 holds the record for the world's longest aircraft. It was built only for testing purposes and its makers have decided to put it to rest as they had got enough data from testing.

World’s Longest Aircraft Prototype Retires: HAV Airlander 10 Gets Grounded

Aircraft and aviation on the whole are taking giant leaps year after year as technology advances, but the Airlander 10 is a throwback to airships of yore, albeit with more technology. Airlander 10 is manufactured by Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), a UK-based company.

World’s Longest Aircraft Prototype Retires: HAV Airlander 10 Gets Grounded

The company has already received the necessary clearances from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Though the CAA has given all necessary clearances, HAV will not be producing the Airlander as it is. According to reports, HAV has been quoted as saying, that the company would ‘Rethink the skies' with their production ready model.

World’s Longest Aircraft Prototype Retires: HAV Airlander 10 Gets Grounded

The Airlander 10 was only a prototype made for testing and data collection, and the aircraft has completed its job. In the last few years, Airlander 10 has completed six successful test flights and collected loads of data.

World’s Longest Aircraft Prototype Retires: HAV Airlander 10 Gets Grounded

The second flight wasn't exactly a successful one as the aircraft crashed, but no one was hurt in the incident and its occupants were all safe. Each flight was nothing but a data collection exercise with the company analysing how the aircraft behaved in various situations, and now finally, the testing has come to an end.

World’s Longest Aircraft Prototype Retires: HAV Airlander 10 Gets Grounded

HAV will now concentrate on building production-ready aircraft and will directly sell them to customers. So who then would be purchasing such a huge aircraft? It would be targeted at armed forces who could use it for surveillance. Airlines could use it to transport passengers or cargo to remote places that doesnt have an airport.

World’s Longest Aircraft Prototype Retires: HAV Airlander 10 Gets Grounded

The Airlander is versatile as it can land on basically any flat surface in the world. It might not be very fast or agile, but is very versatile. Companies can even use the Airlander as communications backup.

World’s Longest Aircraft Prototype Retires: HAV Airlander 10 Gets Grounded

During its test flights, HAV took the Airlander 10 to heights of upto 7,000 feet and it has touched a maximum speed of 50 knots (92.6km/h). It is pushed forward by four diesel engine-driven propellers.

World’s Longest Aircraft Prototype Retires: HAV Airlander 10 Gets Grounded

Thoughts On HAV Airlander 10 Being Retired

Most prototypes meet the same fate - retirement! But with the Airlander 10, it is different. The production version will be vastly different from the prototype, but will be based on the same airframe, etc. Will it see success in the aviation industry where jet engines are becoming faster yet very efficient at the same time? Only time can tell.

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Read more on: #off beat
Article Published On: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 12:00 [IST]
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