World's largest aircraft Airlander 10 crashes during test flight
The world's largest aircraft has crashed during its second test flight since being revamped in the UK.
Airlander 10, a 302ft-long (92-metre) part plane, part airship, was damaged at its base at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire, on Wednesday morning.
Footage of the crash shows the aircraft travelling steadily at a low altitude before tipping forwards with its nose pointing towards the ground.
It then hits the field, with its cockpit appearing to take the brunt of the impact.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed that it will investigate the incident.
A spokesman for Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), which is developing Airlander 10, said: "T he prototype Airlander 10 undertook its second test flight and flew for 100 minutes, completing all the planned tasks before returning to Cardington to land.
"The Airlander experienced a heavy landing and the front of the flight deck has sustained some damage which is currently being assessed.
"Both pilots and the ground crew are safe and well and the aircraft is secured and stable at its normal mooring location.
"Hybrid Air Vehicles runs a robust set of procedures for flight test activities and investigation of issues.
"We will be running through these in the days ahead as we continue the development of the Airlander aircraft. Further updates will follow in due course."
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 50ft (15 metres) longer than the biggest passenger jets and uses helium to become airborne, travelling at speeds of 92mph.
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 143ft-wide (44-metre) and 85ft-high (26-metre) 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 an Airlander 50 will eventually be developed, which would be able to transport 50 tonnes of freight.