January 14, 2019, London (CNN) — The world’s largest aircraft has been retired after six test flights, as its developers prepare to build a new, commercial model to take to the skies in the early 2020s.
The prototype Airlander 10, a hybrid helium airship built by Hybrid Air Vehicles, based in Bedfordshire in central England, measures 300 feet in length – and has been dubbed the “flying bum” because of its unfortunate shape.
Its “luxury” variant was formally unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK in July, after a development process that was hit by some high-profile setbacks – including a crash landing on its second flight.
Hybrid Air Vehicles will now begin work on the production version of the prototype, having secured approved from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The luxury Airlander features a 150-foot-long cabin with plush en-suite bedrooms, an on-board “altitude” bar and glass flooring.