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'The Flying Bum' flies again

The wildest and most butt-shaped airship ever to ply the skies resumed flying this week after a hard landing grounded it last year.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Airliner 10 returned to the skies Wednesday evening when it completed a three-hour flight from its base at Cardington Airfield near Bedford, England.


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a butt-shaped blimp!

Hybrid Air Vehicles

It was the first time that "The Flying Bum" has flown since it suffered a hard landing last August after a routine flight. Since that time, Hybrid Air Vehicles, the Airlander's owner, has installed two pressurized air cushions on either side of the control cabin that are designed to hit the ground before other parts of the airship.

Probably the most curious aircraft ever built, the Airlander 10 was originally built for the United States military in 2012. After the US government canceled the Airlander's program the same year, Hybrid Air Vehicles repurchased it and brought it back to England.

Hybrid is now modifying and developing the Airlander for a variety of uses including freight, advertising, surveillance, communications and luxury passenger transport. Bigger Airlanders are still in the design phase.