Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Most Popular

World's longest aircraft takes disaster relief to new heights

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 02:55

March 17 - British engineers say their Airlander 10 airship, once owned by the US Army, could revolutionize aviation, particularly in the area of disaster relief. The 302-foot long aircraft is powered by inert helium and can carry huge payloads of cargo. All it needs is a level surface on which to land. Jim Drury went to see it.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

It runs on inert helium and can land almost anywhere there's a level surface. Airlander 10's developers say their airship could revolutionise air cargo transportation. It was originally owned by the US Army, but has been sold back to its designers, UK company Hybrid Air Vehicles, who are repurposing it for commercial use. Head of Communications Chris Daniels says Airlander's aerodynamic shape allows the craft to generate lift like an aeroplane wing. SOUNDBITE (English) CHRIS DANIELS, HYBRID AIR VEHICLES, HEAD OF PARTNERSHIPS AND COMMUNICATIONS, SAYING: "About 40 percent of its lift comes from being wing-shaped and about 60 percent comes from being filled with helium, from being lighter than air and that's the real difference in technology, it's a fusion of technologies going together. And the final point about ourselves is we're very low carbon, we're very green." Running on one engine it uses up to 70 percent less fuel than traditional aircraft, despite being - at 92 metres - the longest aircraft in the world. A two-man crew and up to 22 passengers can be housed in this pod held underneath the craft's hull. Technical director Mike Durham says engines on the ship's corners can be rotated to give upward or downward thrust like a helicopter. It's also unique in other ways. SOUNDBITE (English) MIKE DURHAM, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR OF HYBRID AIR VEHICLES, SAYING: "You've got helium inside the hull, so all of the structure is being lifted that way. You can then put your payload on and you lift that either aerodynamically, courtesy of the shaping of the hull, or by vectored thrust......The whole hull of this ship is pressure stabilised, so there's no internal structure at all. So it's an external membrane skin. This is a sample piece of the fabric from it. As you can see, very thin. Incredibly high tenacity, though." The vehicle can hold up to five tonnes of cargo below it, and a larger version - the 100 million USD Airlander 50 - will take ten times that amount. The AIts ability to fly for five days straight makes it ideal for delivering aid to disaster zones, along with its ability to land almost anywhere. Chief executive Steve McGlennan. SOUNDBITE (English) STEVE McGLENNAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF HYBRID AIR VEHICLES, SAYING: "So it can land vertically when it's very heavy, full of payload. It takes a very short landing, perhaps less than its own hull length, so there's no need for a runway whatsoever. It needs just a broadly flat space.... It can land on water, ice, swamp, it can land on any reasonably flat surface." This inaugural test flight took place in August 2012, over the enormous Bedfordshire hangars in which Airlander 10 is housed. The company has ambitious plans - including a twice round the world trip to some of the globe's biggest cities. Hybrid Air Vehicles are buoyed by their new aircraft's potential - and say they're sure the technology will take off in a big way.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

World's longest aircraft takes disaster relief to new heights

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 02:55

Top News »

Investing 201 »

Arian Foster = BlackBerry? Arian Foster = BlackBerry?

Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - (3:16)

Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - (2:34)

Copycat currency trading Copycat currency trading

Wed, Oct 02, 2013 - (2:28)

When to dump a winner When to dump a winner

Tue, Sep 24, 2013 - (1:55)

Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - (2:05)

Why savings interest rates won't budge Why savings interest rates won't budge

Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - (2:09)

Buy local? ETFs try the trend Buy local? ETFs try the trend

Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - (2:42)

The better bond funds The better bond funds

Wed, Aug 07, 2013 - (2:40)

Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks

Thu, Aug 01, 2013 - (2:24)

Invest like an activist Invest like an activist

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - (2:49)

Money Clip »

3 things to do before disaster strikes 3 things to do before disaster strikes

Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - (1:39)

Your must-do money list Your must-do money list

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - (1:24)

The worst "best" financial advice The worst "best" financial advice

Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - (1:42)

Forget gold: The case for REITs Forget gold: The case for REITs

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - (1:19)

3 rules for buying a house now 3 rules for buying a house now

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - (1:39)

“Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip “Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - (2:50)

3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip 3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 - (1:33)

Moving Pictures »

Still missing – MH370 Still missing – MH370

Fri, Sep 05, 2014 - (2:05)

Images of August Images of August

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (1:00)

Burning Together Burning Together

Mon, Sep 01, 2014 - (2:23)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (3:12)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - (3:04)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)