"We were able to prove that this technology works," said Sadia Ashraf, spokeswoman for the ship's maker, Worldwide Aeros Corp. of Montebello.
Worldwide Aeros is building the airship in a 17-story-tall, World War II-era blimp hangar at the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station. The craft is a prototype for a fleet of airships that someday may ferry cargo around the globe more cheaply than cargo jets.
The craft's buoyancy system uses helium to lift the ship into the air, then uses air as ballast to land the way a submarine uses water to dive.
Worldwide Aeros crews completed construction of the airship in December, then launched a series of tests to make sure that various on-board systems work and operate in conjunction with each other.
The crew completed its "first float" maneuvers three weeks ago. Earlier, the vehicle completed its first movement and ground-handling test to demonstrate the ship's maneuverability.
Engineers and technicians also are putting in 16-hour days testing the ship's 365 horsepower engines, automatic flight control systems, electronics and fuel systems.
Crews also demonstrated the ability of four oblong landing pads – essentially the ship's feet – to hover above the ground and to anchor the craft.
The airship being built in Tustin is 254 feet long and 97 feet wide.
It has three propellers – one on each side and one aft – to help stabilize the craft and power it forward up to 140 mph.
Aeroscraft will have the capacity to carry 66 tons of cargo – roughly three times that of C-130 cargo planes and almost as much as the top payload of a C-17.