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World's largest aircraft crashes in UK

AAP logoAAP 24/08/2016

The world's largest aircraft has crashed during its second test flight since being revamped in the UK.

Airlander 10, a 92-metre part plane, part helicopter and part airship, was damaged after reportedly hitting a telegraph pole at its base at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire on Wednesday morning.

Photographs emerged showing the aircraft on the ground with its nose pointing towards the floor.

Hybrid Air Vehicles, which is developing Airlander 10, issued a statement on Facebook: "We're debriefing following the second test flight this morning. All crew are safe and well and there are no injuries."

First developed for the US government as a long-endurance surveillance aircraft, the British firm launched a campaign to return the craft to the sky after it fell foul of defence cutbacks.

It is about 15m longer than the biggest passenger jets and uses helium to become airborne, travelling at speeds of up to 150km/h.

The Airlander successfully completed its first test flight without incident on August 17. It performed one lap of the airfield before landing about half an hour later.

That was set to be the beginning of 200 hours of test flights for the 44m-wide and 26m high craft, which will be able to stay airborne for about five days during manned flights.

HAV claims it could be used for a variety of functions such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel.

It is also hoped the Airlander 50 will eventually be developed, which would be able to transport 50 tonnes of freight.

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