What do you get when you take a blimp, a zeppelin and a jumbo jet and you somehow smash them altogether? Interestingly enough, you get a failed United States Army project — a colossal balloon thing that was supposed to be used during the war in Afghanistan but was abandoned only to be picked up by private contractors and the British government.
You get what they’re officially called the Airlander.
Unofficially? You get the patois version — “the Flying Bum.” All you have to do is look at the screen cap for the video below and use your imagination ever-so-slightly (ahem).
Originally meant as a military surveillance tool, the Airlander may just be the beginning of a whole new way humans get around in the sky.
This from Travel + Leisure:
The Airlander is 302 feet long, making it the world’s longest aircraft. It can carry up to 80 tons of cargo, which is about half of a 747, but at least twice as much as a semi-truck.
When loaded up and with a human flight crew at the helm, the Airlander can theoretically stay airborne for five days. Unmanned it can stay up in the air for three weeks, making it ideal to carry cargo to remote locations and for communication and surveying missions.
Check it out slowly creeping out of its hangar, at night, in the following clip: