Airlander Readies Itself for First Flight in 2016

Airlander Readies Itself for First Flight in 2016

As we attach yet more hard structure to the Airlander, and prepare for the engines, fins and Mission Module being attached to the Hull in January, we look back at the highlights from a trailblazing year for the largest aircraft in the world.


Over the last few weeks we have attached:
  • The battens at the rear of the Airlander. The carbon composite battens provide structural support for the rear engines.
  • The port tailcone. This is what the engine itself attaches to.
  • The first engine pylon. The pylon is both a systems bay and the structural support for the front engine.
We have also built a state-of-the-art Flight Simulator that is now up and running, and the first "flight" was undertaken by CBBC Technobabble presenter, Frankie Vu, ably guided by our in-house Test Pilot, Dave Burns.

The Year 2015 in Summary

2015 has been a huge year for Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) in terms of ground-breaking achievements in all aspects of the business – from completing a record-breaking CrowdCube fundraiser and winning significant awards and grants, to commencing the engine test program, filling the Airlander with helium and floating for the first time.

Finally, engine testing continues putting them through their full range of speeds, ready for the Flight Test programme.
The revolutionary Airlander 10 combines lighter-than-air technology with the best of aeroplanes and helicopters to bring brand new capabilities to aircraft. We produce less noise, less pollution, have a lower carbon footprint, longer endurance (remains airborne for up to three weeks) and better cargo-carrying capacity than virtually any other flying vehicle, with the ability to land and take-off from any surface, including ice, desert and even water.

HAV’s huge potential was further vindicated when it received multiple financial awards over the course of the year, beginning with a £3.4 million UK Regional Growth Fund being awarded followed by a €2.5 million EU Grant being awarded by Horizon 2020, in recognition of Airlander’s 33% reduction in fuel burn, compared with conventional aircraft, and less reliance on existing infrastructure.

In March, HAV launched a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign, with a staggering £2.4 million raised in two months and 983 shareholders from across the globe welcomed to the company. Our investors now include PLC chairmen, experienced business angels, corporate financiers and the Crowd.

Funding will be directed towards helping create a regulatory framework to allow the Airlander to be used in Europe and so contribute to a, ‘Smart, Green and Integrated Transport,’ system as well as ensuring continued economic growth and lasting employment in the UK. We have already expanded our workforce of 20 to 115 in less than a year and brought our game-changing vehicle closer to revolutionising transport forever.

In February the Engine Test Program was initiated by Alistair Birt, MP, Dame Glynne Evans and Sir Gerald Howarth, MP and on the cusp of 2016 we are getting ready to commence attaching them to the hull. Another landmark development was achieved in November when the hull was filled with helium for the first time and floated to the front of the hangar, shortly after the grand opening of Cardington hangar by Mayor Dave Hodges in front of assembled delegates and press.

At the outset of 2015 HAV embarked on its STEM Outreach Programme and has forged strong ties with local and national education establishments, employing two engineering apprentices and one business apprentice as well as a Year In Industry gap year student. You can find out more by watching the Bedford Engineering Skills Partnership video about us.

The Airlander was used as the theme for the 2015 Schools Aerospace Challenge and HAV was delighted to host a webinar as well as treating the finalists to a hangar tour – one of many student groups to visit this year. HAV is also encouraging women into Science and Engineering and was proud to host a workshop for 60 14-year-old girls as part of the residential course at RAF Cranfield.

"Airlander is a powerful catalyst through which students can explore and enjoy STEM-related topics, developing their knowledge and interests as their education and career plans progress." Barry Robertson – HAV STEM Ambassador

Continuing in the prize winning tradition of 2014, HAV won the Regional and National Award for SE England at the EEF/Aldermore Future Manufacturing Awards, the ‘Oscars’ of manufacturing. This is given to, "the UK manufacturer judged to have most successfully designed and delivered a new product to market that has also driven innovation in manufacturing." We are also finalists in the Cleantech Innovate Awards for 2016, having been shortlisted from 136 applicants also making low carbon innovations.

So as 2016 approaches work is accelerating here in Cardington hangar, with daily developments evident on the Airlander. Our team of experts drawn from across the globe are finally seeing their tireless work come to fruition, with our unique simulator ready for our singularly qualified experimental test pilot to prepare for flight.

Over the coming weeks we will be preparing to attach the engines to the hull whilst the giant tailfins are completed and fitted. The fuel module is currently at rest under the mammoth hull and will be attached before the bells ring in 2016 whilst the finishing touches are made to the cockpit.

If you wish to follow us during the next crucial stages of our exciting story then please contact us for further information:

Please visit www.hybridairvehicles.com and Hybrid Air Vehicles on Facebook, on Twitter and on Instagram.

For images, please contact: philippa.murrey@hybridairvehicles.net - (01234) 336430

For videos, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnvPhACVf7t4Ykgx1OxgRiQ (Google: Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander Youtube)

For general media enquiries, contact Chris Daniels, Head of Partnerships and Communications at chris.daniels@hybridairvehicles.net or on 01234 336415.
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HAV Launches New STEM Partnership
Pictured above Mark Robinson Head of Content and curiculum at The Learning Partnership and Henry Williams Projects and Events Manager at HAV. Presenting an early prototype of the competition aircraft. Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited will be the Engineering Partner for The Learning Partnership’s Navigate to the Line competition. Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited has long been a keen supporter of a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focused educational activities. As a company that relies on the best and brightest engineers, it is important to us that the future engineers of tomorrow are being encouraged to consider STEM today. This year, we are making an even greater commitment to STEM education. HAV will be the Engineering Partner for The Learning Partnership’s newest STEM in schools competition, Navigate to the Line. Best known for their Race to the Line competition, The Learning Partnership develops competitions to help meet STEM curriculum objectives while building interest in careers. The new competition will ask students to design a remote-controlled, micro:bit-enabled lighter-than-air aircraft. HAV has been involved in developing the competition and will continue to support The Learning Partnership with content designed to bring a variety of scientific principles to life. With the help of their teachers, students will explore buoyancy and the use of vectored thrust, both key parts of what makes Airlander a hybrid aircraft. Navigate to the Line will bring students’ skills together to take on a challenge inspired by Airlander’s capabilities and engage them with STEM subjects. "Encouraging students to consider STEM career paths is just another way we’re bringing Rethink the Skies to life across our business, and it is a goal HAV shares with The Learning Partnership," comments Tom Grundy, one of HAV’s executive directors. "We look forward to seeing how the competition develops." Educators who are interested in the competition are encouraged to contact The Learning Partnership. "2018 is our pilot year and we’re looking for schools who are keen to be the first to try this new competition," adds Aulden Dunipace, Managing Director of TLP. "We’re confident this is going to be an amazing competition and a great way to get Year 8 students excited about STEM." For more information about Navigate to the Line, please visit www.navigatetotheline.co.uk. About Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited Founded in 2007, Hybrid Air Vehicles is the company behind the innovative Airlander hybrid aircraft. Airlander can take off and land from virtually any flat surface and offers a powerful combination of flexibility, persistence, payload capacity, and efficiency. Suitable for roles from surveillance and border patrol to search & rescue and expeditionary tourism, Airlander is an aircraft that encourages customers to Rethink the Skies and consider new approaches to solving some of the toughest challenges facing aerospace today. Please visit www.hybridairvehicles.com for more information. For any STEM-related enquiries, please email stem@hybridairvehicles.net. About The Learning Partnership Set up to understand and apply within education the latest knowledge in the field of neuroscience, TLP has pioneered major advances in educational leadership, teaching and learner engagement over the last decade. The company is now focused on supporting global engagement in STEM by building and delivering STEM engagement programmes and competitions and linking these experiences to iconic organisations and programmes in the world of STEM. To learn more about TLP, visit http://www.thelearningpartnership.com/.

Video Channel

How Collaborative Expertise Launched the Airlander Project
A video from The Institution of Engineering and Technology explaining how Hybrid Air Vehicles has been working with Forward Composites to apply decades of race-bred British carbon composite expertise in the development and manufacture of the revolutionary Airlander.
We completely agree with you. https://t.co/IftfzHAxXk
HAV's own Tom Grundy spoke with @vagomuradian about #Airlander10's unique capabilities during #FIA18. See the full… https://t.co/aiQ1s7cCWA
Did you see HAV's Tom Grundy being interviewed by @WeAreFINN during #FIA18? Have a look! https://t.co/W019tpHbGi… https://t.co/ybwRGyYE3f