[T]he Airlander [is] a hybrid air vehicle that’s part blimp, part airplane, and part helicopter. Experts are calling it a “game changer” — and it could revolutionize the transport industry.
Developed by Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd., the Airlander was recently unveiled in Britain’s largest aircraft hanger.
The massive aircraft uses both aerodynamics and lighter-than-air (LTA) technology to generate lift (it’s full of inert helium, not explosive hydrogen).
Once aloft, it can stay there for up to three weeks. It’ll be able to carry 50 tonnes to virtually anywhere in the world — which is 50 times more than a helicopter. It’s green, doesn’t require a runway, and can be controlled remotely. It can even fly with bullet holes in it.
Originally developed for the U.S. Military, the project was scrapped due to budget cuts. A British company bought the rights to it and is now planning on building hundreds of them for numerous applications.