When it comes to the Airlander 10 airship, let’s just say the focus is on the inner beauty: the exterior of this “hybrid” plane makes a traditional blimp look streamlined, with some even referring to the Airlander as a “flying bum.”
The manufacturer of Airlander 10 – Hybrid Air Vehicles – says this is the world’s largest aircraft, and that it’s hyper-efficient due to its aerodynamic design, materials, and helium-powered operation, allowing it to stay airborne for up to five days.
And if you’re wary of boarding an airship due to seeing one too many Hindenburg documentaries, you might just change your mind when you look at the recently released renderings of what the Airlander 10’s interior will offer.
Due to enter service in “the early 2020s”, the Airlander 10 will be positioned as a sort of luxury cruise ship of the sky. Windows encase the seating area – which looks like a posh hotel lounge – with views even available through the floor. A bar area and spacious, private bedrooms make this 300-foot craft stand in contrast to the cramped, sardine-can seating of your standard commercial jet.
But the Airlander 10 really isn’t in competition with any existing standard aircraft. While traditional planes are getting faster, the plan for this massive sloth – which cruises at about 90 miles per hour and only takes 19 passengers – is to cater to wealthy jet-setters who prioritize luxury over speed.
And don’t worry, rich history buffs: while the ill-fated Hindenburg fell victim to a hydrogen explosion, the Airlander’s helium boost is non-explosive. So while that solves one problem, the company is still working out the kinks: in the past few years of tests, the craft has experienced a few mishaps, including one nosedive and an incident where it deflated while parked.