1. This is the world’s longest aircraft, the Airlander, which was launched today in a hangar in Bedfordshire.
An innovative heavier-than-air airship - with a design that helps it generate lift much like an aeroplane’s wing - the 302 foot-long Airlander is designed to stay in the air for as long as three weeks, and looks like a bottom.
2. One of the key investors in the craft is Iron Maiden frontman and pilot Bruce Dickinson.
Here he is standing in front of the innovative hybrid ship, which looks slightly less like a pair of buttocks from this angle. The Airlander line (this particular model is known by the less catchy name of the HAV304) is planned to eventually be used for long distance freight transportation, communications and surveillance, as well as the possibility of a luxury version for the leisure and tourism industries.
3. The HAV304 was initially developed for the US military as a surveillance vehicle, but got hit by budget cuts. From the other end it doesn’t look like a bum.
The craft’s manufacturers, Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd, claim that the low carbon vehicle is 70% more environmentally friendly than a cargo plane.
First flown in the US, the vehicle is due to be flown in the UK later this year, and the firm plan to manufacture more over the coming years - creating an anticipated 1,800 jobs in the Bedfordshire area.