The Airlander 10 aircraft has suffered a setback after breaking free of its mooring and a safety system ripped open to deflate it.
The incident happened at Cardington airfield on 18 November when it broke free from its mooring mast for reasons Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) say will be investigated.
The aircraft was deflated and secure on the edge of the airfield, and HAV says the fuel and helium inside has been made safe.
In a statement, HAV says: “The aircraft has a safety system which operates automatically in circumstances of the aircraft breaking free of its mast, and is designed to rip open the hull and deflate the aircraft. This is a safety feature to ensure our aircraft minimises any potential damage to its surroundings in these circumstances.”
One member of staff sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital for assessment as a precaution but has since been discharged, and another sustained minor injuries while dealing with the aftermath of the incident.
Bedfordshire Police temporarily closed off a number of local roads and a local footpath, and HAV says: “We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused local residents.”
HAV adds: “We are testing a brand new type of aircraft and incidents of this nature can occur during this phase of development. We will assess the cause of the incident and the extent of repairs needed to the aircraft in the next few weeks.”