A massive experimental airship briefly lumbered into the skies in front of the former military base in Tustin, where shifting winds kept it from making its first untethered flight.
The 266-foot-long Aeroscraft was built by Worldwide Aeros Corp. with more than $50 million in funding from the Pentagon and NASA to demonstrate a novel buoyancy system that enables the airship to carry heavy loads -- and to move vertically with the precision of a helicopter.
The helium-filled airship’s only cargo Tuesday was two passengers, test pilot Corky Belanger and Aeroscraft inventor Igor Pasternak.
Not long after sunrise, the airship slowly climbed to about 20 feet, kicking up clouds of dust and debris in front of one of the two 17-story wooden blimp hangars in Tustin, where the silver airship was built.
The Aeroscraft tested for about two hours, creating a stir in the nearby community with neighbors coming out for a look, cars pulling over along Armstrong Avenue, and a school bus stopping for a short while.