The opportunity to hop aboard an airplane is a luxury to many, but what about cruising on a luxurious 302-foot-long, part helium-powered hybrid airship?
Called the Airlander 10, the plane isn’t exactly new. Back in 2016, on its second flight, shortly after takeoff, the plane dove nose first to a crash-landing in the grass near its hangar at a U.K. airfield. But there’s reason to get excited once again.
Earlier this summer, at the Farnborough Airshow in England, aerospace company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), unveiled its new and improved Airlander 10, showing off what the luxurious interiors could look like. Dubbed “The Flying Bum” thanks to its posterior-shaped hull, there’s much to ogle at both on the exterior and interior. Find out the airplane myths you need to stop believing.
Inside, passengers will find en-suite bedrooms, a bar, and a lounge area to mingle with other passengers. The real attribute that sets this luxury plane apart from anything else is certainly the fact that the cabin is almost covered entirely in glass.
While those afraid of heights might want to take a hard pass on this experience, the adventurous will relish in the fact that some of the floors provide views of the earth below from 16,000 feet up. HAV says the Airlander 10 is capable of carrying up to 19 passengers over a three-day expedition. It comes as no surprise that a full catering experience is provided during the trip.
Don’t expect to take this flight across the pond in a handful of hours, however. The Airlander 10 was designed to reach a max speed of about 91 mph, making it less about getting somewhere and more about a cruise in the skies. Picture floating above Niagra Falls or Glacier National Park in Montana for a leisurely tour and spectacular views. The eco-friendly aircraft can take off and land anywhere, including on water.
“Air travel has become very much about getting from A to B as quickly as possible,” HAV’s CEO Stephen McGlennan told the BBC. “What we’re offering is a way of making the journey a joy.”
While the 2016 crash landing and a 2017 incident involving the Airlander 10 deflating before take-off made for some poor press, there are high hopes for the luxury plane. It has now completed six successful test flights and requires a total of 200 incident-free hours in the sky to be considered flight-ready.
However, you probably shouldn’t hold your breathe for tickets, as there’s no word on when this will happen, or even how much the three-day trip will cost, but the fascination over “The Flying Bum” is still worthy of attention. In the meantime, find out the 40 things your airline pilot wish you knew.