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Multi-million pound campaign launched to try and get world's biggest aircraft off the ground

The Airlander 10. Photo: ITV News Anglia

In a giant shed in the Bedfordshire countryside - sits the largest aircraft in the world.

This is the Airlander 10.

"It's a mix between the best of an aeroplane, an airship and a helicopter and we've combined them in a very clever way to come up with something that can do totally different things - it can fly for three weeks at a time, it can land and take-off anywhere, it can carry heavy loads and basically, we think it will transform the world of aviation."

– Chris Daniels, Hybrid Air Vehicles

It's known to the engineers as Mary - and she's a very big girl.

At 92 metres long - she's about the same size as a football pitch and 25% bigger than a Boeing 747 aeroplane.

25%
The Airlander 10 is 25% bigger than a Boeing 747 aeroplane.
The Airlander 10 can carry up to 10 tonnes of freight. Credit: ITV News Anglia

She can carry up to 10 tonnes of freight and burns a fifth of the fuel of a conventional aircraft.

"There's all sorts of different uses for this - we're really efficient, we're really green and like a helicopter, we can fly anywhere, we don't need airfields or infrastructure to land on, so that's really good for disaster relief, it's really good for carrying heavy loads to different parts of the world and it's really good for flying for long periods of time."

– Tom Grundy, Hybrid Air Vehicles
The Airlander 10's first flight in the UK is scheduled for next year. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Airlander 10 has flown once before under a US military programme - but its first flight in the UK is scheduled for early next year.

The developers have already got two big grants from the government and the EU - but they need to raise about £2million more - so they're now offering members of the public the chance to invest.

The project could create nearly 2,000 jobs in the county.

And in two or three years time - it could be taking off with passengers onboard.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper

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