Airlander 10 Crashes In Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire, After Coming Loose From Its Moorings

Kathryn Snowdon

A woman had to be taken to hospital on Saturday after the world’s largest aircraft, Airlander 10, came loose from its moorings.

The aircraft is the length of a football pitch and is part plane, part airship.

It collapsed in Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire after its hull ripped and deflated at around 9.30am on Saturday.

The remains of the Airlander 10, the world's largest aircraft, lies on the ground at Cardington airfield in Bedfordshire, as the aircraft, came loose from its moorings causing its hull to rip and deflate. (PA Wire/PA Images)

This is the latest accident to befall the aircraft, which carried out its first flight in May since crashing in August last year.

Manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) said it was investigating why the £25 million aircraft broke free and added its hull was designed to rip open and deflate in the event of coming loose.

HAV said in a statement: “The aircraft was not flying at the time of the incident.

“Our initial assessment is that the aircraft broke free from its mooring mast for reasons that will be investigated.

“The aircraft has a safety system which operates automatically in circumstances of the aircraft breaking free of its mast, and is designed to rip open the hull and deflate the aircraft.

“This is a safety feature to ensure our aircraft minimises any potential damage to its surroundings in these circumstances. The aircraft is now deflated and secure on the edge of the airfield. The fuel and helium inside the Airlander have been made safe.”

File photo dated 17/08/16 of the Airlander 10, the world's largest aircraft, during its maiden flight. (PA Wire/PA Images)

The firm said that a member of HAV staff sustained “minor injuries” and has since been discharged from hospital after being taken there as a precaution.

HAV said that another member of staff also sustained minor injuries while dealing with the aftermath of the incident.

Bedfordshire Police shut down some of the nearby roads during the incident.

HAV apologied for any inconvenience that may have been caused.

The firm added: “We are testing a brand new type of aircraft and incidents of this nature can occur during this phase of development. We will assess the cause of the incident and the extent of repairs needed to the aircraft in the next few weeks.”

Last summer, the aircraft, which is about 15 metres longer than the biggest passenger jets, nose-dived and crashed.

No-one was injured during that incident but the cockpit was severely damaged.

The Airlander uses helium to become airborne and can carry 10 tonnes of cargo.

It is 302ft (92 metres) long, 143ft (44 metres) wide, 85ft (26 metres) high and can travel at 92mph.

HAV believes it could be used for a variety of functions, such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel.

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