Want to know what the world’s longest aircraft looks like? You’re probably picturing something sleek and angular like a Concorde jet or maybe something ultra-futuristic from a sci-fi film. But you’d be wrong. Very, very wrong. Because the world’s longest aircraft looks more like a giant elongated watermelon with fins on the back. Yes, it’s the Airlander 10. A kind of plane-airship hybrid. And it was recently taken out of the hangar for the first time.
The Airlander 10, officially named the Martha Gwyn, is the result of years of work by British company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV). Martha measures at 302 feet in length, which is about 60 feet longer than most commercial airliners.
The craft was originally conceived by the U.S. military for surveillance purposes. But the project ran out of money before it could be completed. Hybrid Air Vehicles took the army’s original concept and ran with it. The company believes the Airlander 10 could be used for more than just military work. HAV is hoping to build multiple Airlanders in the next few years where they could be used for passenger vehicles, tourism movers, humanitarian missions, cargo jobs, and more.
Martha Gwyn was towed out of its hangar onto a field where it is to remained tethered to the ground. No firm date has been set for the giant aircraft’s first official flight.