Cardington Shed 1 opens doors to reveal world’s largest aircraft

Cardington Shed 1 opened today to reveal the world’s largest air craft undergoing reconstruction within.

The Hybrid Air Vehicles HAV304, which at 92m long takes up just half of the hangar, was introduced by backer and former Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson at the opening (Friday, February 28)

Bruce Dickinson at Cardington.

Bruce Dickinson at Cardington.

Mr Dickinson, who put £250,000 into the project, explained the project builds on the all the research put into developing aeroplanes over the years since airships were abandoned.

He said: “The boot’s on the other foot because the technology advances that were made in those aircraft enables us to revisit this fundamentally sound technology and make it super efficient.”

The launch comes as the Government announced it is putting £2.5million into the project.

North East Beds MP Alistair Burt backed the plan and said: “It’s great to see the sheds back in use. Having this base in the heart of Bedfordshire, back where airships began, really matters to us.”

The HAV304 was originally developed by the firm for the US military but due to White House budget cuts was bought back to Bedford.

It uses the principles of traditional aeroplanes and airships to be the world’s largest and most energy efficient air craft. It is marginally heavier than air once filled with helium, and the design of the body creates lift like an aeroplane wing.

It can take off and land almost anywhere, and remain airborne for days, which gives it a unique place in military and commercial opportunities.

Hybrid Air Vehicles hopes to make the first test flight in December.

For a chance to be on that flight go to