During 2014, we undertook an extensive work programme to reclassify the prototype as a civil aircraft, which we named Airlander 10. We also launched the LOCATE (LOw CArbon aircraft using lighter-than-air TEchnology) grant-support programme in May 2014. An approximately £3.8m project, this provided extensive information driving the refinement of the aircraft's specification.
In February 2015, the Regional Growth Fund awarded a £3.4m grant and, in March, the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme awarded approximately £2m in support of our Return to Flight programme. With these grants in place and an equity round in progress, we officially commenced the Return to Flight programme on 1 May 2015.
Over 500 modifications were made during the course of the Return to Flight programme, based on an extensive analysis of the results of the LEMV program and significant computational and experimental work, to develop the new Airlander 10 prototype. Airlander 10 successfully completed its maiden flight in the UK on 17 August 2016. This 30-minute flight was a major step for HAV, and provided further confirmation of the technology including the enhancements made.
A second test flight was completed on 24 August 2016. At the end of this flight, the front of the cockpit was damaged when a loose mooring line resulted in an overly steep landing approach. An investigation followed and HAV considered aircraft systems, mooring and ground support systems, and both flight and ground operations to ensure we learned everything we could.
A further four test flights were completed following this incident. These additional flights included an expansion of the operational envelope to the maximum allowed under our initial European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approvals. Extensive data was collected during each flight, which drove both the further development of the aircraft and our bespoke Flight Trainer. We also received confirmation from both EASA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that we would be able to expand the flight envelope based on the data from our flight test programme. This was an important moment in the development of Airlander.
On the morning of Saturday 18 November 2017, the day after the successful completion of the sixth test flight, the prototype Airlander detached from its mooring mast on the airfield at Cardington. This triggered the in-built hull deflation mechanism. We launched an extensive internal investigation to determine what led to the de-masting. Our internal report recommended a number of corrective and preventative actions, which are being implemented as we have progressed to the production Airlander.Read about our investigation
During 2018, HAV focused on integrating all of our experience into a production standard design of Airlander. This work was undertaken with extensive input from potential customers to ensure that detailed requirements were taken into account in the design. HAV also obtained the regulatory approvals needed from the CAA to commence design and production of the type certified production Airlander 10.
We are poised to launch the next stage in Airlander's development - the production and type certification programme for the production-standard aircraft.Production Airlander 10
The UK Civil Aviation Authority awarded HAV a Design Organisation Approval. This is an important milestone on the path to type certificationRead more about the DOA
The UK Civil Aviation Authority awarded HAV a Production Organisation Approval. Like the DOA, the POA is a critical step on the path towards type certification.Read more about the POA