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News Link • Transportation: Air Travel

The World's Longest Aircraft Is Half-Blimp, Half-Zeppelin

•, By Kelsey D. Atherton
Unveiled last Friday, the Airlander is the world's longest aircraft. Developed by Hybrid Air Vehicles, the 302-foot-long Airlander was once a candidate military craft called "Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle," until Pentagon budget cuts forced the U.S. Army to abandon the program.
The Airlander resembles both a blimp and a Zeppelin, but it's not quite either. Blimps have no rigid internal structure, while Zeppelins (technically, "rigid airships") have a stiff internal structure that holds the shape of the aircraft. The Airlander is, as the company name implies, a hybrid airship that gets lift from bags of helium. It has a rigid structure that offers more control than comes with blimps. To house the massive aircraft, Hybrid Air Vehicles is using a century-old airship hangar in Bedfordshire, England.

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