The world's longest aircraft, Hybrid Air Vehicle's Airlander 10 collapsed at the Cardington airfield in the UK. The aircraft was not flying, or scheduled to fly at the time of the accident. An automatic safety mechanism that rips open the hull and deflates the aircraft kicked in. The safety mechanism was put into place to minimise damage to the surroundings in case the aircraft broke free. Hybrid Air Vehicles has indicated that the incident was triggered after the aircraft broke free of its mooring, and the incident is being investigated.
"The aircraft is now deflated and secure on the edge of the airfield. The fuel and helium inside the Airlander have been made safe", Hybrid Air Vehicles said in a statement. One member of the staff was injured during the accident, and another was injured during the cleanup operations after the accident. Both the injuries were minor. A few roads and a footpath were temporarily closed after the accident. The fuel and helium inside the aircraft have also been made safe. Explaining the crash, Hybrid Air Vehicles said, "We are testing a brand new type of aircraft and incidents of this nature can occur during this phase of development. We will assess the cause of the incident and the extent of repairs needed to the aircraft in the next few weeks. "
This is not the first time that the Airlander 10 has suffered an accident. In August 2016, the aircraft took a nosedive and fell flat, with the front deck sustaining damage. The incident took place soon after the maiden flight of the aircraft. The prototype aircraft is being developed for low cost, low carbon footprint transportation, with the ability to fly in crewed and uncrewed configurations. Hybrid Air Vehicles is also developing an even larger aircraft known as the Airlander 50, specifically for transportation of cargo.