On Wednesday evening Airlander 10 completed its first flight since the giant dirigible crash-landed nine months ago. The airship took off at 5:28pm BST, puttered around for almost three hours, and successfully landed at 8:15pm. This is only the fourth time that Airlander 10 has taken to the skies, following two flights in the UK in 2016 and a single flight in the US in 2012 when the aircraft was originally being considered for usage by the US Army.
The new auxiliary landing system—the giant airbags detailed below—worked perfectly, Hybrid Air Vehicles reports. The main purpose of the flight was to practice take off and landing and to collect flight performance data.
HAV says that yesterday’s successful flight recommences Airlander 10’s three-phase flight test program. For now, Airlander 10 isn’t allowed to ascend beyond 4,000 feet or travel more than 15 miles from its hangar in Bedfordshire. As it progresses through the test program it will be allowed to travel farther and higher and stay airborne for longer. In theory, Airlander 10 can hang around for a few days.
The gallery below contains photos from 2016’s test flights.