Meet Airlander

Airlander uses a combination of proven aerospace technologies from a mixture of traditional cylindrical airships such as its non-rigid inflatable hull made from composite flexible structural material and using helium as the lifting gas. Airlander also uses current technology from aeroplanes, helicopters, or novel VTOL aircraft such as V-22 Osprey. This allows for the aircraft to have vectored thrust for lift and control, composite rigid structural materials, electronically controlled engines, and sophisticated avionics. This combination makes Airlander a cutting edge aircraft with game changing capabilities.

Airlander gets its lift from a combination of buoyancy, aerodynamics, and vectored thrust.

Airlander’s helium-filled hull and low flight speed also make it a low-vibration and low-G aircraft, which improves reliability. The Airlander also has features that make it inherently safer than other aircraft.

The green tech

The design of a hybrid aircraft, combining buoyant lift from helium with aerodynamic lift and vectored thrust, creates significant efficiency over conventional fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Using the buoyant lift of helium reduces the fuel burn required just to keep the aircraft airborne – most of the airframe’s weight is countered by the helium’s buoyancy. In its current configuration, Airlander 10 produces approximately 75% fewer emissions than comparable aircraft in similar roles.

Learn more about Airlander 10

Our aircraft


HAV is committed to green aviation, and Airlander 10 is uniquely suited to delivering zero-carbon aviation quickly. We have established key partnerships to support the ongoing development of the Airlander family of products, enabling us to deliver complete solutions to our customers. The versatility and unique platform Airlander offers will facilitate the early adoption of emerging technology such as hydrogen fuel cells and electric motors, bringing electric propulsion to aerospace at scale. This will allow them to offer new ultra-low and zero emissions solutions to today's mobility, logistics, communications, and surveillance challenges.


Technical Details

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The Hull

Airlander 10 is a bi-hulled hybrid aircraft. The hull itself is a laminated fabric consisting of materials designed for strength, helium retention, and durability. Filled with helium, the hull is aerodynamic: an elliptical cross section with a cambered longitudinal shape.

Inside the hull, the aircraft has multiple ballonets. These compartments, filled with air, help to maintain the internal pressure of the hull as the helium expands and contracts (with temperature and altitude changes, for example). They also offer additional control of the aircraft for the pilots, who can adjust the ballonets.

In the event of damage to the hull, on-board automatic pressure management systems compensate for a helium leak with managed degradation, allowing the aircraft to fly to a base for repair and helium replenishment. Thanks to the low pressure differential, helium leaks very slowly, even from multiple holes in the fabric.


Airlander’s four engines are currently combustion engines burning jet fuel. During typical cruise, the forward two engines are shut down. This further reduces both fuel burn and engine noise. In addition, the aircraft is capable of being safely landed with any two of its four engines.

Airlander's pathway to zero emissions sees two of Airlander's engines being replaced with electric motors, with all four being replaced with electric motors by 2030.

Flight Test and Current Development Status

HAV is the world leader in hybrid aircraft and the only company to have flown a full-scale prototype. Through a successful flight test programme and design refinements, the technology has reached a Technology Readiness Level of 7, demonstrating that we are ready to move into production.

The prototype Airlander 10 completed seven flights, flying across a significant part of its ultimate flight envelope. This testing programme demonstrated its performance, capability, and the reliability of its key systems. This allowed HAV to validate and calibrate our aircraft simulation and modelling capability, which underpins the Type Certified production aircraft programme.

Over the course of our testing programme, we incorporated more than 500 modifications to improve flight characteristics, operation, and maintenance. We also completed hundreds of hours of simulated flying.

In September 2018, EASA awarded HAV a Design Organisation Approval (DOA). This is an important milestone on the path to bringing the production Airlander 10 into service with customers. It also represents a major achievement for HAV, as just eight other organisations hold an EASA DOA for type certifying large aircraft. We also secured an additional major required regulatory approval in December 2018, when the UK Civil Aviation Authority awarded us a Production Organisation Approval (POA).

In January 2020, we revealed the production Airlander 10. The updated aircraft has a fuel-saving, lower-drag shape; enhanced landing gear; wider, longer cabin for passengers, cargo, and equipment; and many other refinements which you can explore here.


Airlander uses composite structures for the rigid elements of the aircraft, including the fins and payload module. The composites used are carbon fibre, technology widely used in other aircraft and vehicle manufacturing.

Fly By Light

Airlander uses fibre optic control systems. We use these over conventional copper wires for a number of reasons. Firstly, fibre optics provide a means of data transmission that is highly resilient to electromagnetic interference and HIRF (High Intensity Radiated Field). Fibre optics are also highly resilient to lightning.

Fibre optics are much lighter in weight than conventional copper wires, helping keep the overall weight of the aircraft down.

Finally, our fibre optic control systems provide higher data transmission rates than copper cables, allowing for the addition of multiple high definition cameras on the aircraft's hull to meet customer needs.


Airlander's hull is filled with helium. An inert gas, helium is the first noble gas on the periodic table and is both the second lightest and second most abundant element in our universe.

Helium's lighter-than-air nature allows it to "float", which generates lift. For Airlander, this lift offsets the weight of the aircraft and allows us to use significantly less thrust to stay airborne. This is a key part of why Airlander consumes less fuel than other comparable aircraft.

Although all hybrid and lighter-than-air aircraft use helium to generate lift, this accounts for only a small percentage of the annual use of helium. The majority of helium is used in cooling applications, such as in medical equipment, and other industrial uses.

We're frequently asked about the world's supply of helium. Read more here.

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