World's largest aircraft crashes in Bedfordshire

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

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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.

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