Giant flying blimps - or airships - were all the rage in the period between the two world wars before a tragic disaster in the late-1930s involving an aircraft brought their popularity to an end.
Now the inflated flying structures are making a comeback with developments by the aerospace industry's biggest players and new challengers promising to develop airships for anything from luxury travel to transporting cargo to remote parts of the world.
And it could be just two years before airships begin to take to the skies for commercial use.
In a hangar nearly 60 miles north of London sits a 302 feet beast called the Airlander 10, which is vying to become a leader in an industry that could be worth $50 billion over the next 20 years, according to companies building these aircraft.
"What a hybrid aircraft can do is very efficiently carry a heavy load and that heavy load can basically be three things - people, cargo or it can be fuel - and it has ultra-long endurance," Chris Daniels, head of partnerships at Hybrid Air Vehicles, one of the companies developing an airship, told CNBC, explaining the appeal of the aircraft type.
The use cases are plenty, according to manufacturers, and could include transporting cargo for companies, surveillance, search and rescue missions, and even luxury travel. Daniels said that the passenger market is likely to remain small with the opportunity mainly in the enterprise space.
"The passenger market again is a very clear market but it's relatively niche - luxury tourism, experience flights, that kind of experience rather than getting from A to B," Daniels said.
Hybrid Air Vehicles sees a lot of opportunity in delivery of items to consumers in emerging markets where the infrastructure is poor, but users are increasingly connected through mobile devices.
"Mobile phones have managed to skip landlines in the developing world and we think in cargo, there will be no point putting in expensive roads or railways if there is an alternative," Daniels said.