Aviation fans had a glimpse of the world's longest aircraft when it was brought out of its hangar for the first time.

The Airlander 10 - part plane, part airship - delicately emerged from a giant hangar at Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire at 4am on Saturday.

The enormous aircraft, measuring 302ft (92m) long, was gently piloted from the hangar in a delicate operation that lasted five minutes, its fin tips passing just six metres from the sides of the hangar doors, before it was towed 30 minutes to its resting point at a primary mast site, one of two specially prepared on the airfield.

It is the first time the aircraft has been publicly visible and comes after tests on its engines, generators and systems were completed last week.

Further ground systems tests will now be carried out before the Airlander 10, christened the Martha Gwyn in April, takes to the skies for the first time at a date yet to be announced.

The aircraft is around 50ft (15m) longer than the biggest passenger jets. It was first developed for the US government as a long-endurance surveillance aircraft but it fell foul of defence cutbacks.

British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) launched a campaign to return the Airlander 10 to the skies in May 2015.

The huge aircraft will be able to stay airborne for around five days during manned flights. HAV claims it could be used for a variety of functions such as surveillance, communications, delivering aid and even passenger travel.