Cardington, United Kingdom -- Polyurethane layering is a key feature in the hull of an aircraft its developers say can revolutionise air transportation.
Hybrid Air Vehicles’ (HAV) Airlander 10 includes polyurethane between layers of materials including Vectran - a manufactured fibre, spun from a liquid crystal polymer and Mylar - polyester film owned by DuPont.
The craft was built using a mixture of £6m in UK and European Union grants and £2.4m in public crowdfunding.
Its aerodynamics rely on a 92m-long helium filled bubble fabricated from thermally welded urethane coated fabrics.
Dave Cadogan, director of product development at ILC Dover, the US company that developed and supplies the material to HAV, said “using welding ensures a considerably faster and more reliable joint.”
The Airlander 10 can carry up to 10 tonnes, according to HAV. It will be able to reach altitudes of 7,000m and can travel at a speed of 80 knots.
It is due to take its maiden flight in March, 2016.
Its developer say it is the world's largest aircraft. The R101 - an airship built nearly 100 years ago and also stationed at Cardington - was 236m long, according to The Airship Heritage Trust.