Clear prop! for airship engine - the Airlander engines are fired up

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Bedford’s cutting-edge airship is getting closer to take-off as its crew fires up one of its engines in a test run.

The Airlander engine, mounted on a test rig, was given a blast at its home, in Cardington Shed 1.

The German-produced 4 litre, V8 engine is based on an engine from a Mercedes four-wheel drive vehicle.

It has been modified to run on aviation kerosene, giving the airship the ability to re-fuel at any airport in the world.

And, unlike a jet engine, it remains efficient at low speeds.

The Airlander will be driven by four of these engines - two attached to the rear, and one on either side, which will enable to the pilot to steer.

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As staff members and invited guests gathered to witness the switch-on, the traditional shout of “clear prop!” was called before the surprisingly quiet machine lept into action.

The event was attended by Sir Gerald Haworth MP, HAV chief executive Steve McGlennan, security consultant Dame Glynne Evans, and constituency MP Alistair Burt.

Mr McGlennan said: “This is the first step to bringing the Airlander to flight.

“We are on track and are pleased with how the testing has performed.

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“We are looking at December, or maybe late November.”