: CNN: Airlander 10 - world's 'largest' aircraft readies for takeoff

13:35 Mar. 23, 2016

CNN: Airlander 10 - world's 'largest' aircraft readies for takeoff

A worker stands underneath the Airlander 10 hybrid airship, manufactured by Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd., during the global media launch event in Bedford, U.K., on Monday, March 21, 2016. (Getty Images)

World's largest aircraft to be launched

It's hard to imagine keeping secrets about an aircraft so spectacularly huge that the Guinness Book of Records is believed to be just days away from rubber-stamping its entry.

But until the vast new Airlander 10 airship was unveiled fully assembled in a giant hangar north of London on March 21, it still had a few to reveal.

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"Last time I flew this in 2012," says test pilot David Burns, gesturing at the cockpit controls of the aircraft he'll soon take to the skies in its latest incarnation, "no one was allowed to take photographs of this."

The controls are not entirely different from those of an ordinary plane but include extra switches and gauges that govern gigantic balloons pumped full of helium.

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Back in 2012, they were secret thanks to the aircraft's previous life as a U.S. military project that was grounded due to defense cuts.

After further development, it's now literally back afloat.

Full story

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