Video: First rigid airship since Hindenburg to take flight

A 230-foot-long inflatable, the Pelican, will lift off in America next week - the first rigid airship to take flight since the Hindenburg disaster.

A 230-foot-long inflatable, the Pelican, will lift off in America next week - the first rigid airship to take to the skies since the Hindenburg disaster.

Airships fell out of favour after the German passenger airship Hindenburg exploded in 1937 with the loss of 35 lives.

The image of the burning airship became iconic - and the previously popular mode of transport fell out of favour.

The new 'Aeroscraft' will be used to haul cargo, and the U.S. Pentagon has invested in the new airship - the Pelican prototype is to complete four flight tests this week.

The Pelican prototype will be the predecessor to a full-sized 450ft airship, capable of hauling 65 tonnes, according to a report in Aviation Week.


The Pelican has a 'skin' of carbon fibre and aluminium and uses helium instead of explosive hydrogen.

The craft can adjust its buoyancy by compressing the helium inside it, becoming heavier.

The airship is designed to carry very heavy cargoes over long distances - and its makers hope that the £35m craft could see a return for rigid airship

The first tests will happen inside a hangar, with the airship only 'flying' 10 to 15 feet above the ground.