An heroic failure? – #Airlander is winning the heart of the nation!

Martha Gwyn or the “flying bum” came a cropper on landing after her 100 minute test flight yesterday


My partner and I (who are lovers of pass the pigs) wonder whether this is a snouter or a leaning jowler. Either way it is a landing of comic genius that will propel Martha into the hearts of the nation.

If you are lucky enough to get a seat at the LGIM DC conference in mid September you will have the opportunity to hear the CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles discuss his struggle to get the flying bum off the ground. Steve McGlennan will be on a panel and I’ll be chairing and I’m very excited.

I knew Steve as a young lawyer making a name for himself  fifteen years ago. We lost touch when he went off on some mad-cap project (we now know to be this).

He’ll be telling the lucky audience and fellow panellists – what you have to do to innovate on this scale. That should be fun!


Stephen’s a canny scot and he knows good publicity when he sees it. The ongoing saga of testing this thing has a long way to run. Airlander is not due to go into production till 2020 and in the meantime, we have our first aeronautical curiosity since Concorde to enjoy.

I am sure I will hear all the details for Stephen before, at and after the conference- he’s not shy. This is Stephen’s good humoured response to my mail of condolence.


We’ll fly on.  You wouldn’t expect any less of me.

Some say it hit a pole , but Hybrid Air Vehicles deny this.

I’m sorry it didn’t , if only because it makes my clumsy joke about bums and poles and penis envy even sillier than it seemed when I posted it last night.


It doesn’t matter – none of this matters – except the insane joy of the dirigible and its magnificence.

Chitty Chitty Bang – Caractacus Pots – you should have been alive in such an hour!

Pensions – we need a dirigible we can call our own!


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to An heroic failure? – #Airlander is winning the heart of the nation!

  1. Phil Castle says:

    I live on the flight path of what was Manston Airport until it was closed a year or two ago. It had just started being a viable alternative to us having to drive for 2 hours to Gatwick, Stansted or Luton and by linking with Skipol, we could get anywhere in the world.
    I would love to see one of these in 2020 flying oit of Manston and linking us to Skipol or another international airport.
    Where we live, some were pleased the airport closed, but many are fighting on for it to be reopened. Fighting to get something like this flying from Manston could re-unite the battlers for mutual improvement for our region.

  2. henry tapper says:

    Top comment Phil- but I understand that top speed for the flying bum is around 90 mph which could make for a long trip to Schipol

    • Phil Castle says:

      160.48 miles Henry, so under 2 hours, which is about the same it takes us to get to Gatwick (we’re 40 mins from Eurotunnel). No parking costs, no traffic jams, pleasant flight. What wouldn’t be to like about Manston Skipol with Airlander! New highspeed trainstation due to be built so under an hoir by train from Stratford too! Who needs another Gatwick runway?

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