World’s Largest Aircraft


The Wright Brothers flew their first flight in a 21 ft. airplane over the Outer Banks of North Carolina. About 14 of their planes could fit inside the world’s newest, largest aircraft, the Airlander, a 300 ft. zeppelin-shaped, helium-filled vessel.

The U.S. government originally funded the development of the voluminous aircraft, but scraped plans due to budget cuts. The aircraft — built in England — made one flight in Lakehurst, N.J., at McGuire Air Force Base in August 2012. Read More at Mashable


The craft is referred to as a hybrid air vehicle, which means an aircraft that uses a combination of buoyant lift (provided by the use of ‘lighter than air gas helium) aerodynamic lift (created by the shape of the hull and air passing over it) and thrust from its engines (housed at each corner in the propulsors).

Key parts of the craft

Air cushion landing system: This particular ship actually has a ‘skids landing system’ using pneumatic tubes, which means it can land on all surfaces. The next model to be created, the Airlander 50, will have an air cushion system, using hovercraft so that it can land on a range of surfaces including water

Hull: this contains the helium lifting gas, a lighter than air substance, which helps lift the craft and ensure it remains airborne while environmentally effective

Hull strake: aerodynamic device that helps reduce drag on the craft, which can slow it down

Bow thruster: used to provide lateral thrust & used for control of the vehicle at low speed or on the gro

Fins: work in a similar way to fins and wings on most planes, helping with controlling the direction of the craft

Vectoring vanes: mounted on the rear of each propulsor allowing the craft to be steered at lower speeds or hovered when freight – such as humanitarian aid – is being delivered

Payload module: Consists of the flight deck, which houses the cockpit for the crew; fuel tanks and a payload beam for carrying cargo or equipment. The payload compartment has a capacity of up to 22,050 lbs (up to 10,000 kg)

Mooring mast interface: Hard structure used to attach to a mooring mast when required

airlander specs

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