The World's Longest Aircraft Finally Gets Off the Ground

The HAV304 took the crown of “world's longest aircraft” with its inaugural flight today. The gargantuan spans a football field and towers just over two stories in height, owing its construction to pure metal. It sacrifices little in being the world's longest, as it still reaches 100 mph, which is triple that of the dwarfish Goodyear blimp. Further, it can stay airborne for just over three weeks (and hypothetically, if it could maintain its maximum speed for all that time, it would travel over 50,000 miles.)

All in all, the HAV304 offers nothing short of the glory one would expect from a gargantuan blimp-hybrid-aircraft that is partially funded by the lead singer of Iron Maiden. So run to the hills, tundra, or any extreme environment, as this runway-free goliath will soon be delivering supplies to you.

[The Telegraph]

The $40 Million Delivery Blimp

The Ice Road Truckers may soon have themselves some competition if Canadian specialty aviation company, Discovery Air, has its way. They want to deliver supplies to the Great White North's most remote locales via dirigible by 2014.

Discovery Air and Hybrid Air Vehicles have announced plans to launch a commercial Heavy Lift Air Vehicle service serving mining camps and secluded villages in the Northwest Territory using airships originally developed for long-term reconnaissance by the US military.

These hybrid aircraft—"hybrid" in that they use both the lift from non-flammable Helium and the aerodynamics of the ship to stay aloft—employs laminated fabric covering an internal catenary system as the hull. The airships will be able to carry up to 50 tons of cargo as a time and will purportedly be able to land or take off from virtually anywhere—thanks to its four propulsion fans.


"The North has been waiting a long time for a year-round, heavy-lift, transport capability." Dr. Barry Prentice, Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Asper School of Business in Winnipeg, Manitoba, stated. "The conditions are right for a new form of transport that is capable of heavy lift, but is also low cost and environmentally sustainable."

These blimps will be able to travel up to 115mph (185km/h) without the dangers of an overland route. They will, on the other hand, run about $40 million apiece.


[CBC News via Ubergizmo via MobileMag - HAV Press Release - Discovery Air Press Release]

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