Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden, is hoping to change air travel by investing in the world’s largest airship.
Called Airlander, the airship looks “as if a series of cigars have been sewn together.” It has a length of 302ft, which is roughly 60ft longer than the biggest airliners, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8, and is also almost 30ft longer than the Antonov An-225, which was, until now, the longest aircraft ever built.
Airlander can stay in the air for up to 21 days at a time, has low running costs, can carry up to 50 tons in freight and is 70% greener than any cargo plane. The airship does not require a runway, and can land on virtually any surface, be that land, sea or even desert.
The airship was originally developed by US military for surveillance purposes, but was abandoned after defense cuts. It was then sold to British developers who saw a potential to make the airship a cheap and sustainable form of public aviation.
Dickinson, who is a qualified airline pilot, believes Airlander is the future of air travel and told BBC News:
“It’s a game changer, in terms of things we can have in the air and things we can do,” he says.
“The airship has always been with us, it’s just been waiting for the technology to catch up.”
“It seizes my imagination. I want to get in this thing and fly it pole to pole,” he says.
“We’ll fly over the Amazon at 20ft, over some of the world’s greatest cities and stream the whole thing on the Internet.”
By flying Airlander around the world twice, Dickinson hopes to raise awareness of the vessel’s potential as the future of sustainable aviation.
Via BBC News