World's largest aircraft crashes in Bedfordshire

The world's largest aircraft crashes at Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire.

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Airlander test flights expected to resume soon

The Airlander crashed back in August. Credit: Lee Cordell

The flight deck of the world's largest aircraft has been repaired following a crash on only its second ever flight.

The Airlander airship, which was built in Bedfordshire, was damaged in August last year and has been out of action ever since.

The flight deck instrument panels, overhead console and wiring have had to be re-installed. Test flights should begin again soon.

Airlander 10: Cause of crash still unknown

The moment the Airlander nose-dived into the ground. Credit: Lee Cordell

The pilot of the Airlander 10 that crashed in Bedfordshire says the cause is still being investigated.

The £25 million aircraft nose-dived as it came to land from its second test flight at Cardington Airfield in August.

The cockpit was damaged by the impact, but the pilot escaped injury.

The Airlander - which is the world's largest aircraft - is being repaired and is expected to fly again early next year.

"The aircraft was pitched nose-down and we couldn't avoid hitting the ground. The flight deck of the aircraft struck the ground first, causing damage to the front end of the aircraft.

"We're still looking into the exact causes of what's going on. There are some complex interactions, so we're still investigating."

– Simon Davies, Experimental Test Pilot


Airlander crash: Mooring line gets caught on power line

The moment the Airlander nosedived into the ground Credit: Lee Cordell

A rope attached to the world's largest aircraft made contact with a power line before it crashed says its manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV).

Airlander 10, which is part plane, part airship, was damaged after nosediving at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire.

The crash occurred when the £25 million aircraft, which is the length of a football pitch and the height of six double decker buses, was nearing the end of its second test flight.

The cockpit was damaged by the impact but the pilots escaped injury.

"Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd can confirm a mooring line attached to the Airlander did contact a power line outside the airfield. No damage was caused to the aircraft and this did not contribute to the heavy landing. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused to anyone."

– Spokesperon Hybrid Air Vehciles

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is set to investigate the crash.

The Airlander was first developed for the US government as a long-endurance surveillance aircraft. HAV launched a campaign to return the Airlander 10 to the sky after it fell foul of defence cutbacks.

The aircraft, so named because it can carry 10 tonnes, is 302ft (92 metres) long, 143ft (44 metres) wide, 85ft (26 metres) high and can travel at 92mph.

It is about 50ft (15 metres) longer than the biggest passenger jets and uses helium to become airborne.

It is hoped it will be used for a variety of functions, such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel. An Airlander 50 is planned, which would be able to transport 50 tonnes of freight.

Locals react to Airlander 10 crash

Locals who were visiting Cardington today have been reacting to the news of the Airlander 10 crashing this morning.

The 25 million pound aircraft was on its second test flight, but failed to reach home safely.

We saw it this morning flying, and everything looked okay.

I think it's a shock. Especially after how much money they spent on it and it crashed so soon.

– Eyewitness

Firm behind Airlander to begin investigation into crash

The Airlander 10, sits on the ground after crashing at Cardington airfield in Bedfordshire Credit: PA Images

The developers behind Airlander 10 say they've launched an investigation into why the aircraft crashed as it landed in Bedfordshire.

The cockpit of the aircraft was damaged as it landed at its base in Cardington this morning.

It flew for 100 minutes and completed all the planned tasks before returning to land.

The world's largest aircraft crashed during its second test flight Credit: PA Images

Hybrid Air Vehicles say they will be running though the flight test activities in the next few days and an investigation into the crash is likely to take a couple of months.

The Airlander experienced a heavy landing and the front of the flight deck has sustained some damage which is currently being assessed. Both pilots and the ground crew are safe and well and the aircraft is secured and stable at its normal mooring location.

Hybrid Air Vehicles runs a robust set of procedures for flight test activities and investigation of issues. We will be running through these in the days ahead as we continue the development of the Airlander aircraft.

– Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV)


Pictures of Airlander 10 following crash in Cardington

The world's largest aircraft has crashed during its second test flight Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Airlander 10 crashed as it returned to its base at Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire this morning.

The Airlander 10 suffered cockpit damage following its second test flight. No one was injured.

The aircraft only took to the skies for the first time a week ago after months of tests.

The Airlander 10 hit a telegraph pole during a test flight Credit: ITV News Anglia

The HAV say that all crew are safe and there are currently no injuries to report.

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