Airlander Review of 2017

Our goal at Hybrid Air Vehicles is to change the future of aviation through Airlander. Therefore at the start of 2018 we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments and achievements demonstrated by Airlander and her dedicated team in 2017, as it is these that will enable us to deliver robust, reliable, efficient and effective solutions to our customers in the future.

Following last year’s ground incident, Airlander has now been recovered into the hangar. At present, our team of experts are finalising the investigation into what happened, in tandem with our insurers. Further details will be made public after the full investigation is concluded and reported to relevant authorities later this year.
 
February – April
 
Repairs & Improvements Unveiled – At the outset of 2017 the Airlander team were busy completing the final repairs and upgrades to the aircraft before they were officially unveiled in February. The BBC were invited to Cardington Hangar 1 to introduce the two significant enhancements to the public for the first time - the new Auxiliary Landing System (ALS) and the Mobile Mooring Mast (MMM).
 
“Both of these enhancements are great engineering innovations, and show the creativity and ingenuity of the team working on Airlander to great effect.” Steve McGlennan, CEO Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd.


 
Hangar Exit
– Having received approval to fly once more from the CAA, Airlander emerged from Cardington Hangar 1 in darkness and took up residence on the airfield once again. The new MMM and extensive ground crew training paid off as the move was accomplished rapidly and easily.

ELITE & Fundraising – In April Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) joined London Stock Exchange Group’s international business support and capital raising ecosystem, ELITE. This is a full-service programme designed to help ambitious companies prepare and structure for the next stage of growth through the access to long term financing opportunities. It is a unique offering for scale-ups across Europe and beyond, providing a comprehensive training programme and extensive access to the business and financial community.  The ELITE Club Deal private placement platform, launched earlier in 2017, will also help streamline the capital raising process for ELITE companies including Hybrid Air Vehicles.


 
May
 
Project LOCATE Completion – This specialist grant programme administered by the Aerospace Technology Institute began in May 2014 and was named LOCATE, standing for LOw CArbon aircraft with Lighter-than-air TEchnology. It has enabled crucial research and development that has firmly positioned the UK as the global leader in hybrid aircraft. HAV is the only company to have flown a full-sized hybrid aircraft in the world and front-runner in a pioneering field that has an independently-valued market of over $45 billion. This research grant helped to develop and enhance the Airlander 10 for its future commercial operations, and maintained the UK’s lead in this technology.
 
Flight Test Resumption – Within a month of emerging, Airlander returned to the skies once again with a spectacular three hour flight. Over the course of the summer a further three flights took place, providing huge amounts of valuable data to calibrate our knowledge of flight in this brand new type of aircraft.

“It was truly amazing to be back in the air. I loved every minute of the flight and the Airlander itself handled superbly. I am eager to get back into the cockpit and take her flying again,” said Chief Test Pilot, Dave Burns.

 

June
 
Airlander’s Flight Test Programme Continues - This was the Airlander 10’s fourth flight and second in 2017.  Test Objectives revolved around further expanding the flight envelope and further testing of the flight characteristics. We reached 3700 feet altitude and 37 knots speed. 
 
“It was great to be airborne again and we enjoyed a really successful test flight. We gathered a lot of data during the flight which helps us to optimise and define the performance of this magnificent aircraft.” – Dave Burns, Chief Test Pilot

 

July

Fifth Test Flight - On Tuesday 4 July, Airlander undertook its 5th Test flight. The flight included the proving of an alternative landing technique in preparation for when we commence heavier flight trials (this technique had been developed in the simulator based on data from previous test flights). The flight also included a level-flight acceleration and deceleration run.
 
August
 
Innovative Maintenance Techniques – While the pilots took a well-earned break in the summer, it was time for the Airlander’s team of technicians to put their extensive training to good use whilst maintaining the world’s largest aircraft. Hybrid Air Vehicles has developed deep understanding of the tools and techniques needed to maintain Airlander outside, without need for a hangar.  Ascending onto the 26m tall hull to carry out inspections and maintenance is now routine, rapid, safe – and spectacular.

“Being up on the hull is a fantastic experience – I didn’t want to come down! It was a privilege to be part of the small team that performed the scheduled safety checks.” – Ivor Pope, Maintenance, Modification and Ground Operations Manager


 
November
 
Extended Test Envelope – Following validation of our flight test data analysis, EASA granted permission for Airlander to embark on its second phase of flying at the end of the summer. This allowed Airlander to fly further, faster and higher than before, with extra personnel on board, and to fly for the purpose of demonstrating, as well as testing the aircraft.

“We’re thrilled to have commenced the next round of testing; our world class team have really done well.” – Steve McGlennan, CEO

Late on Friday 17th November 2017, Hybrid Air Vehicles’ (HAV) highly trained test team sprang into action and Airlander was expertly guided into the sky by Chief Test Pilot Dave Burns on her sixth test flight, the first in the next planned stage of expanded flight tests.  
Chief Test Pilot Dave Burns was joined by Andrew Barber, as Flight Test Engineer (Andrew’s full working title is Airworthiness and Flight Safety Engineer), whilst Allistair McDicken, Interim Head of Flight Test Organisation & Lead Flight Test Engineer, looked on from the ground.
 
Incident
– On 18 November, there was a ground incident with the pre-production Airlander aircraft, which resulted in extensive damage to the hull and selected assemblies. The aircraft detached from its moorings in light winds for reasons that will be determined from our ongoing investigation. HAV have gathered a great deal of data from all of our flying and ground operations to date which is being used to inform our flight simulation, analysis and design tools ready for the next phase of Airlander development.

 

December

Move – Following a happy four years at Cardington Hangar 1, a decision was taken to move the business HQ to Technology House, Bedford, whilst a small production team has remained in Hangar 2 to work directly with the Airlander. The move went well and the team are settling into their smart new home.
 
General

STEM – Our team of three dedicated volunteer STEM Ambassadors have been hard at work this year and as a result we have engaged with thousands of young enthusiasts across the country through a series of workshops, lectures and events. Highlights include a project with Cambridge UTC, a series of high profile workshops in local schools, cadet and scout groups, presence during events at The Shuttleworth Collection, and heavy involvement with the Wiltshire Festival of Engineering at the behest of their local MP Michelle Donelan. We are proud of our ability to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and our STEM programme is set to expand in 2018 so be sure to keep an eye on progress.



Capabilities for our Customers – Attendance at the Dubai Air Show, DSEI and a host of other events in 2017 has continued to demonstrate demand for the efficient, low-cost, low-noise capabilities of Airlander. Airlander is designed to fly for ultra-long endurance flights, with low fuel burn, and to be able to access remote areas for delivery of people, freight and humanitarian aid. We were pleased to announce that Henry Cookson Adventures is to trial Airlander in a luxury tourism capacity and to launch a Design Foundations product to specify the cabin and interior fit of a luxury passenger variant of Airlander. Hybrid Air Vehicles will build on these successes in 2018 in pursuit of our goal to change the future of aviation. Imagine the possibilities.



About Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd
Founded in 2007, Hybrid Air Vehicles is the company behind the innovative Airlander range of hybrid aircraft.  Airlander’s create new capability in the air with ultra-endurance combined with large payloads.  This gives unprecedented surveillance, search and communications aspects, and will ultimately lead to passenger and cargo carrying roles.

The Airlander 10 combines the best characteristics of fixed-wing aircraft with lighter-than-air technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient and sustainable aircraft, with significantly lower pollution – including noise, its carbon footprint or other particles.  This green aircraft also has significantly lower operating costs and maintenance needs than standard forms of air transport.  They can take off and land from unprepared sites in desert, ice, water, or open field environments in a short distance.  Airlander 10 is designed to stay airborne for up to five days at a time to fulfil a wide range of communication and survey roles, as well as cargo carrying and tourist passenger flights.

Hybrid Air Vehicles has been awarded both UK and European* grant funding to support the Airlander project.  In addition the company has carried out two ‘crowdfunding’ rounds and is proud to have more than 2000 enthusiastic shareholders.

Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd was recently accepted onto London Stock Exchange’s ELITE programme for high growth companies looking to seek a listing on the AIM Stock Market.

Over the past few years Hybrid Air Vehicles has won a number of awards which validate our technology, and the great workforce that have created a unique concept and product. Our award successes reflect our remarkable achievements, won through dogged entrepreneurial determination and private investment spanning 40 years.

Hybrid Air Vehicles recognise the critical role Airlander plays in inspiring future Scientists, Technologists, Engineers and Mathematicians and we actively educate and encourage young people into STEM careers through collaboration with industry leaders, government bodies, educators and individuals.  HAV currently employs 3 Apprentices, who are studying at Bedford College.

*The Airlander project was selected for EU funding through a dedicated SME Instrument of Horizon 2020, which the European Commission uses to invest in and support high growth and highly innovative small businesses. The technology is also fully in line with activities under the Smart, Green and Integrated Transport Societal Challenge of Horizon 2020, which aims to boost the competitiveness of the European transport industries and achieve a European transport system that is resource-efficient, climate-and-environmentally-friendly, safe and seamless for the benefit of all citizens, the economy and society.

Please visit http://www.hybridairvehicles.com/about-us/invest-in-us for more details about investment opportunities.

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For general media enquiries, contact media@hybridairvehicles.net or call 01234 336400.

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Airlander Takes Step Toward Electric Propulsion
  Zero-carbon aviation is one step closer with the award of a UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme grant to develop electric propulsion for Airlander 10.   A partnership of Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), Collins Aerospace, and the University of Nottingham (UoN) has won grant funding in excess of £1m from the UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme to develop electric propulsion technologies using Airlander 10 as the initial platform. The project, named E-HAV1, will deliver a full-sized prototype 500kW electric propulsor for ground testing and technologies ready for future productionisation. These technologies will be directly applicable to a future Airlander 10, with the goal of replacing its fuel-burning forward engines as the first step towards an all-electric version of the aircraft.   Utilising a combination of buoyant lift from helium, aerodynamic lift, and vectored thrust, Airlander 10 already operates with a significantly lower fuel burn than other aircraft of similar capability. The integration of electric forward propulsors will increase this advantage. Airlander 10’s ability to support a broad range of activities from passenger travel to fisheries protection makes it the ideal platform for pioneering electric propulsion in civil aircraft.   Project E-HAV1 will address key goals of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy: strengthening the UK’s aerospace capabilities, positioning the UK for developing future generations of civil aircraft, and advancing a new generation of efficient propulsion technologies. Each of the three partners is a leader in their sector: HAV in whole-aircraft design capability, Collins in electric power system development, and UoN in electric propulsion research and testing.   This collaboration demonstrates the commitment all three organisations have to the future of sustainable aviation. “Reducing our carbon footprint is one of the biggest challenges facing aviation today,” says HAV’s CEO Stephen McGlennan. “While Airlander 10 is already helping customers Rethink the Skies with incredible efficiency, we have to find ways of further reducing the impact we have on our environment. This project will move us closer to our goal of zero-carbon aviation.”   “As the innovation leader in electric power systems for the aerospace and defense industry, Collins Aerospace is proud to join with our partners in advancing this critical initiative,” said Marc Holme, Motor Drive Systems Engineering Director at Collins Aerospace. “Together, we’re developing innovative technologies that will pave the way for the hybrid-electric and all-electric aircraft of the future.”   Prof Pat Wheeler, Head of the University of Nottingham’s Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group, commented, “we are really looking forward to the exciting challenges of applying our technological knowledge of electrical machines, power electronics and power systems to the Airlander propulsion application.  This project will also benefit from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF) investment in our new Centre for Power Electronics and Electrical Machines, which will open early in 2020”.   Business Minister Lord Henley said: “The UK has world-leading capabilities in aerospace manufacturing. The testing of this new electric engine, is our modern Industrial Strategy in action. This is a vital step in aerospace manufacturing to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of hybrid-electric technology, using the best talent, industry and innovation to transform the way people, goods and services move across the UK.”   The E-HAV1 project is supported by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Programme, a joint Government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture. The programme is delivered through a partnership between the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK; addressing large-scale technology and capability challenges, principally over a rolling 5 to 15-year timeframe.   About Collins Aerospace Collins Aerospace, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defense industry. Created in 2018 by bringing together UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins, Collins Aerospace has the capabilities, comprehensive portfolio and expertise to solve customers’ toughest challenges and to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global market. For more information, visit CollinsAerospace.com.   About the University of Nottingham’s Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group The Power Electronics, Machines and Control (PEMC) Research Group at the University of Nottingham is one of the largest and most recognised groups in its field worldwide. The PEMC Research Group undertakes research in Power Electronics and Electrical Machines/Drives that are fundamental to our technological advancement. These technologies underpin the electrification of transport and all renewable energy strategies and are vital for a sustainable future. For more information, please see www.nottingham.ac.uk\pemc.   About the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) is at the heart of UK aerospace research and technology (R&T). Working collaboratively with Government, industry and the wider UK aerospace eco-system, the ATI sets the UK’s aerospace technology strategy (Raising Ambition) to reflect the sector’s vision and ambition.   The ATI is responsible for developing the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, supported by a network of advisory groups, and stimulating industry-led R&T projects that align with this strategy and maximise the potential to deliver UK economic benefit. The ATI provides strategic oversight of the R&T pipeline and portfolio, co-chairing the Strategic Review Committee with BEIS and advising on project investment.   As well as setting the UK’s technology strategy, the Institute identifies global opportunities for UK organisations through its international engagement programme, and helps to connect the UK to the global sector   About the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) The budget holder, BEIS, is accountable for the final decision regarding projects to progress and fund with Government resources, as well as performing Value for Money (VfM) assessment on project proposals when required.   About Innovate UK Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.   UK Research and Innovation is the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UKRI brings together the 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

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're thrilled to be working with @CollinsAero and @UoNEngineering to develop electric propulsion for #Airlander10!… https://t.co/wS8wrcfxt4
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