August 18 - An airship that is claimed to be the world's largest aircraft made its maiden flight with a short but historic jaunt over an airfield in the English Midlands.

The 302 ft (92 m) Airlander 10 rose slowly into the air from Cardington airfield. 

A hybrid of blimp, helicopter and plane, it can stay aloft for days at a time and has been nicknamed the 'flying bum' because of its bulbous front end.

The stately aircraft performed a circuit of the area before touching down 30 minutes later as dusk fell.

The Airlander is designed to use less fuel than a plane, but carry heavier loads than conventional airships.

Airlander is expected to be a showcase of UK innovation and is already being used in the UK Government's "GREAT Britain" campaign to highlight the strength of the aerospace sector and the innovation in engineering this country is capable of creating. 

Customer interest has increased, particularly in the defence and security sector, and this, together with UK Government support should secure 400 new aerospace jobs as well as valuable export opportunities for the UK economy.

The next step is to ensure the UK Government runs a trial in order to demonstrate the potential of this amazing aircraft to the world and secure the lucrative exports.

For our previous report on the Airlander 10, see here: