It has been dubbed 'the flying bum' die to its radical design, and the 20-tonne Airlander 10 took a step closer to commercial flying today with its most impressive test yet.
The flight, in Cardington, Bedfordshire was carried out as night fell, and Airlander was guided into the sky by Chief Test Pilot Dave Burns on her sixth test flight.
The latest test flights will push Airlander to fly higher (up to 7000 feet), faster (up to 50 knots) and further away from its airfield (up to 75 nautical miles away).
Carried out in Cardington, Bedfordshire, the latest series of flights will see Airlander fly up to 7000 feet high, reach speeds of 50 knots and travel 75 miles
'We're thrilled to have commenced the next round of testing; our world class team have really done well and we can't wait to showcase Airlander across the UK in coming months,' said Steve McGlennan, CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles, the firm behind the craft.
The company hopes the Airlander - which can carry 10 tonnes and up to 60 passengers - will be used for luxury commercial flights over the world's greatest sights from 2019.
'It was a fantastic new flying experience and I am very excited about soon being able to fly on the Airlander around the UK and share some of that thrill with more of the country,' said Andrew Barber, who was on board the Airlander for the very first time today.
It is soon set to be tested by luxury travel firm Henry Cookson Adventures next year.
It says it hopes to take the craft wherever clients want to go, promising passengers will 'experience landscapes that vary as diversely as the North Pole, Bolivian Salt Pans and Namib Desert'.
The ability to stay aloft for days at a time, in virtual silence, with floor-to-ceiling windows and fresh air make Airlander perfect for cruising in exceptional locations, Hybrid Air Vehicles, the firm behind it says.
'I have flown Airlander a number of times now, and am really excited about the possibility of taking the first passengers on board.
'I can imagine the awe and excitement of seeing the world in luxury, with amazing views, quietly and whilst respecting the environment,' said Dave Burns, Airlander Chief Test Pilot.
In 2018, Henry Cookson Adventures (HCA) will become the first private excursion company to trial Airlander 10, anticipating her arrival to revolutionise ultra-high-end travel.
The craft is set to get a luxury interior as part of the plan, and Hybrid Air Vehicles and Design Q have been awarded a £60,000 grant for an 'Airlander Luxury Tourism Design Development Project'.
Design Q is one of the leading independent design consultancies with automotive and aviation clients throughout the world, including BAE Systems, Bombardier and Virgin Atlantic.
'We are excited with the prospect of working on such a unique project, not only is it the largest flying aircraft in the world but it demands an interior that truly breaks new ground and provides an experience that will be unlike anything seen before,' said Howard Guy, C.E.O and joint founder of Design Q.
'This will be something that passengers will treasure all their lives.'
The world's longest aircraft, dubbed the 'flying bum', took the skies earlier this year for a surprise test flight.
Hundreds of people gathered to watch the 20-tonne Airlander 10 perform aerial manoeuvres in a four-hour flight that took off from Cardington, Bedfordshire.
The 92-yard-long part-airship part-aeroplane was badly damaged when it nosedived during a test flight on 24 August last year.
Following extensive repairs, it reached the highest altitude so far in its fourth test flight after taking off from hangars at 6.05pm on Tuesday.
A spokesman for its manufacturers Hybrid Air Vehicles said the flight had not been announced to avoid a mass of spectators gathering in the village.
Passers-by spotted the 38,000 cubic-metre prototype preparing for take-off in Cardington Airfield.
Hundreds of people gathered around the airfield after a local group of 'blimp spotters' also used the weather conditions to predict the test flight.
Roger Skillin, 38, of St Neots, Cambridgeshire, took these incredible photos of the flight after he heard its engine was on.
The amateur photographer had wanted to take behind-the-scenes shots of the film sets at the hangar for a new Justice League superhero movie and a Dumbo movie.
He said: 'All the cars just suddenly stopped in the middle of the road.
'I was stood along the edge of the main road looking out to the airfield - just as it was to cross the road there was screeching of brakes and the brake lights going on.
'I think it was just the sheer size of it - you can see it sitting on the ground but you don't really appreciated it until it actually takes off.
'It was maybe 150ft up but considering the size of it it would have been massive and was covering your line of sight.
'It's like - how can something that big be gracefully moving over you in the sky?
'There's not really anything in nature you can compare it to.'
A spokesman for the company hailed the prototype's test a success after it reached record heights of 3,800ft on the flight.
It took off at 6.05pm, carried out a series of landing practice runs, reaching speeds of 37 knots.
The aircraft can reach heights of 16,000ft and speeds of 80 knots - 93 miles per hour - and fly for up to five days.
The spokesman said plans were going ahead to have more built for commercial flights for between 48 to 60 people over tourists spots such as the Niagara Falls and rivers in Europe.
'Blimp Spotter' Trevor Monk, of local aircraft enthusiast group Cardington Sheds, said: 'There were a few hundred around the airfield.
'It's the longest current aircraft in the world and it's just sitting on an airfield in Bedfordshire but apart from that it's the technology involved - it's a brilliant idea, it's called a hybrid because it's an airship which is an inflated wing.
'It can land on water or a small field that's the beauty of it - it can do a lot of stuff.'