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News Link • Transportation: Air Travel

World’s Biggest Aircraft Is Funded by Iron Maiden’s Frontman

•, By Alexander George
 It can also be remote-controlled and land on water. And the lead singer of Iron Maiden is an investor.

The HAV 304 “Airlander” is just over 300 feet long. That’s nearly 60 feet longer than a Boeing 747, 80 feet longer than the Spruce Goose, and 30 feet longer than the Antonov An-225, the previous title-holder for the world’s largest aircraft.

The flying leviathan was produced by British aeronautics firm Hybrid Air Vehicles, and it’s being considered for commercial and rescue applications–at around $100 million each.

The Airlander’s design is more complex and functional than its Hindenberg aesthetics would indicate. The hull’s shape produces the same aerodynamic lift as an airplane wing, and a series of enormous bladders are filled with inert helium to get it airborne. Four turbocharged, V8 diesel engines produce 350 horsepower a piece and power the propellers. The rear and forward props push it forward, but the Airlander’s design allows for “zero-energy” lift during long-distance flight and it can hover for 21 days straight, albeit while burning about 818 gallons of fuel per day. Top speed? A modest 100 mph, but that’s still impressive for something tipping the scales at 38 tons and designed to haul many more tons of cargo.

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