The giant, gassy aircraft could soon start making journeys to the North Pole.
Behold, the world's largest aircraft: a gigantic airship called the Airlander 10 that, when viewed from a certain angle, looks a whole lot like a ginormous — and possibly, uh, plugged — butt.
The Airlander 10, for all of its glory, has a bit of a troubled past. It was originally designed in 2010 by the US military as a way to provide surveillance in Afghanistan for up to two weeks at a time, but the project was scrapped just two years later.
But British developer Hybrid Air Vehicles held on to the concept just in case commercial airship use ever came back in vogue, and "the flying bum," as the Airlander 10 has been called, may soon have its day in the spotlight.
The Plot Thickens
A company called OceanSky Cruises is launching a new luxury air cruise to and from the North Pole in order to recreate a historic expedition Norwegian explorers undertook in 1926, CNN reported earlier this month. At the time, CNN noted that a newer, commercial version of the Airlander 10 was a top candidate for OceanSky's vehicle of choice — and OceanSky has since confirmed that it will in fact be using the gigantic floating butt.
The journey will make use of the Airlander 10's ability to fly extremely slowly and close to the ground in order to give tourists amazing views of local wildlife and scenery — illustrating the tradeoff of low speed but high versatility that comes from flying in an airship rather than a plane.
"We can go down to 300 feet, even 100 feet if needed, as slow as a bike," pilot Carl-Oscar Lawaczeck told CNN, "in order to offer our passengers a glimpse of those polar habitats to our passengers,"
READ MORE: Travel to the North Pole on board a luxury airship [CNN]
More on the Airlander 10: Airlander: The World’s Largest Aircraft Just Crashed During Its 2nd Test Flight