Gigantic airship set for takeoff

Published 6:37 AM ET, Tue March 10, 2015
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The Airlander 10 is a hybrid airship designed by UK-based firm, Hybrid Air Vehicles. Courtesy Hydrid Air Vehicles
The lightweight airship, seen here in a concept illustration, can carry up to 10 tons and stay in the air for five days continuously. Courtesy Hybrid Air Vehicles
It was originally designed for the U.S. military to use for surveillance of troops and conflict zones overseas. But a lack of funding grounded the project. Courtesy Hybrid Air Vehicles
HAV bought the technology back and is underway with plans to lift off again thanks to a £3.4 million ($5.1 million) grant from the UK government, aimed at helping emerging technologies and job creation. Oli Scarff/Getty Images/file
The helium-filled Airlander is pictured in a giant shed in Cardington, England, in February 2014. Oli Scarff/Getty Images/file
The craft's cockpit has space for one pilot and an observer. Here, Bruce Dickinson, singer with rock band Iron Maiden, sits in the driving seat. He is one of the company's private investors. Oli Scarff/Getty Images/file
At just over 300-feet long, the Airlander is the world's largest aircraft -- longer than the largest commercial passenger airliner, Airbus 380, pictured (239 ft) and the Antonov An-225 (275 ft). JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images/file