Shortstown Primary pupils bag a trip to airship shed to view Airlander

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Groups of budding aviation experts have toured the world’s largest aircraft as part of their school project.

The pupils of Shortstown Primary School have been studying the topic of flight and the ill-fated R101 airship, and were excited to come face-to-face with the cutting edge Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander.

HAV head of partnerships and communications Chris Daniels showed them round following a talk he gave in school to Year 1 classes the week before.

He said: “The children posed some amazingly technical questions, such as how much does the Airlander weigh compared to the R101, how do we toughen the landing skids to make sure they don’t burst, and what happens to the pigeons who come into the hangar.

“They were all blown-away by the scale of the hangars and the Airlander inside it. It looks big to adults, but must look enormous to a six year old.”

Chris added the visitors were also surprised to see the hull material is as thin as shoe leather and were given the challenge to try to tear a small sample.

He said: “It’s strong enough to hold up a bus, so we were quietly confident a child wasn’t going to rip it!

“I got an impromptu big group hug as a thank you from the children at the end, which is certainly a first for me at the end of a meeting here.”