Technicians Inspect the Hull on Airlander – Maintaining the World’s Largest Aircraft

  • The first full inspection of Airlander’s hull was completed this week by HAV’s team of aerospace technicians as part of ongoing analysis during the Flight Test Progamme.
  • This was the first annual yearly check of the hull surface as a part of its flight test programme.  Simple but spectacular access techniques are now proven and Airlander passed its inspection with flying colours.  
  • Airlander is ready to demonstrate its airborne capability to its customers as its flight programme continues.
  • Airlander is in a class of its own in the most useful capability of payload x endurance – which is vital to patrol, search, surveillance and communications roles.
Technicians recently completed a full hull inspection of Airlander using simple, safe and spectacular rope access techniques developed to make maintaining our unique aircraft routine. As expected, no major problems were found and Airlander got the thumbs up to continue its flight test programme.  This was the first time this access process has been used outside on the hull following development inside our hangar. This technique is key to enabling Airlander to demonstrate its ability to be maintained outside, without need for a permanent hangar.    

We now benefit from remarkably easy access to all the upper surfaces and systems of the Airlander, using the same ascender system as the technician team uses for routine engine maintenance and inspection.

Airlander is 26m tall (around the same height as four stacked double decker buses) which means that great care and thought has been put into maintenance techniques. Safety ropes are permanently attached to the hull and our technicians undertook rigorous training to ensure the highest safety standards. Access is gained to the hull via power ascenders supplied by ActSafe, the world leaders in this kind of equipment. Safety is the priority for Airlander and we always ensure the highest standards are adhered to.

“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. We were pleased to find no major issues, further proving Airlander’s resilience.” – Ivor Pope, Maintenance, Modification and Ground Operations Manager

About Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd

Founded in 2007, Hybrid Air Vehicles is the company behind the innovative Airlander range of hybrid aircraft. They utilise new aerospace technology that combines the best of the characteristics of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter-than-air technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft, with a significantly lower carbon footprint and operating cost than other forms of air transport.

Airlanders are low noise, low pollution, and are environmentally-friendly. They have ultra-long endurance, and a point-to-point cargo-carrying capacity. They can take off and land in a short distance from unprepared sites in desert, ice, water, or open field environments. 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 shareholders without whom return to flight would not have been possible.  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 Stock Market.

The Airlander project was selected for 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.

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.

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

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For images, please visit www.hybridairvehicles.com/news-and-media/press/image-downloads.

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

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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/.

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