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ELEGANT CRASH

The world’s largest aircraft just crashed in a painfully slow nosedive

The Airlander 10 hybrid airship makes its maiden flight at Cardington Airfield in Britain, August 17, 2016.
A very British crash: keep calm and carry on. (Reuters/Darren Staples)
By Selina Cheng
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The Airlander 10, currently the largest aircraft in the world, has just gracefully crashed onto the ground during its second test flight in the north of London, UK.

In a video uploaded to YouTube, the airship nicknamed the “Flying Bum” because of its peculiar shape, is seen nosediving at painfully low speed, finally touching ground after about 26 seconds.

The aircraft is about 92 meters in length (300 feet), 21 meters longer than a Boeing 747, according to The Guardian. With four engines carrying 38,000 cubic meters of helium in a hull made of ultralight carbon fiber, the Airlander 10 can fly as fast as 80 knots.

Hybrid Air Vehicles, the British company developing the aircraft, says the front of the aircraft was damaged but the pilot was unhurt during the accident, according to CNN. The company did not explain what caused the crash, but a maiden flight last week was cut from 90 minutes to 20 minutes because of a technical problem.

The aircraft initially received $300 million from the US military to be developed for surveillance purposes and transporting cargo, but the project was aborted after the US government cut its military expenditure in 2013. The company later raised funds by crowdfunding, from the European Union and the UK government to continue development. It can remain in the air for five days if manned, and up to 21 days when unmanned.

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