The ‘flying bum’ is set to takeoff

By Ellie Zolfagharifard, Mail Online

At 302ft (92 metres), the Airlander 10 is the world’s longest aircraft.

The part plane and part airship was first designed in 2010, but a series of budget cuts left it sitting in hanger in Bedfordshire.

Now, a £3.4 million ($5.25 million) grant from the UK government is set to get the giant ‘flying bum’ aircraft off ground next year.

While the aircraft was originally designed for surveillance and reconnaissance by the US Army, the UK government is hoping to use it to transport cargo cheaply, according to The Verge.

The ship, previously named HAV304, is capable of carrying around 20,000 pounds (nine tonnes) of cargo for up to five days at a time without landing. It is also 10 to 20 per cent cheaper than a helicopter to operate.

The giant aircraft is currently being held at Cardington, UK, which in the only hangar big enough to accommodate the 113ft (34m) wide and 85ft (26m) high beast.

The UK government's innovation agency has also enabled the company behind the ship, Hybrid Air Vehicles, to start a full engine test program, enabling it to double its staff in 2014.

Last year, Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden and a high-profile investor in the aircraft, compared the ship to Thunderbird 2 and described it as a 'game changer.'

'It will be able to cross the Atlantic and launch things right where they need to be,' he told Radio 4’s Today programme.

'It can reach about 100mph and stay airborne for about three-and-a-half weeks.'

While it looks like giant airship, it has a unique aerodynamic shape that means it can also create lift just like an aeroplane wing. The cambered shape provides up to 40 per cent of the vehicle’s lift.

This allowed engineers make the machine heavier than air, removing the need for crew to hang onto ropes to hold it down. A number of ballonets fore and aft in each of the hulls provide pressure control.

The aircraft is powered by four 350 hp, four litre V8 direct injection, turbocharged diesel engines. Two engines mounted forward on the hull and two on the stern of the hull for cruise operation.

The plan is that the Airlander 10 will eventually lead to the development of the Airlander 50, which would be able to transport 50 tonnes of freight.

The huge aircraft combines the best of aeroplane, airship and helicopter design. HAV believes there could be a world market for between 600 and 1,000 of these aircraft.

For the time being, the company plans to produce around 10 a year for the next four or five years. This is expected to lead to the creation of 1,800 jobs in the Bedfordshire area.

‘The growing aerospace sector has the potential to generate thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds to the UK economy in contracts,’ business secretary Vince Cable said today.

‘That is why so much effort is being put in by government and industry to ensure we stay ahead of the competition and build on our strong position as second in the world for aerospace.’

He added: ‘As part our long-term industrial strategy we are jointly funding £2 billion of research and development into the next generation of quieter, more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly planes.

‘That includes backing projects like HAV's innovative low-carbon aircraft which can keep us at the cutting edge of new technology. Here is a British company that has the potential to lead the world in its field.’
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HAV AWARDED PRODUCTION ORGANISATION APPROVAL
Hybrid Air Vehicles has been awarded Production Organisation Approval from the Civil Aviation Authority. As 2018 came to a close, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) awarded Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd a Production Organisation Approval. Following the successful award of our Design Organisation Approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in October 2018, this latest achievement sees HAV starting 2019 in a strong position to launch production. A Production Organisation Approval (POA) considers the manufacture and assembly aspects of aircraft production. This includes supply chain management, processes relating to manufacture and assembly, and the production facility itself. Both the Design Organisation Approval (DOA), which covers design activities and flight test, and the POA, covering manufacture and assembly, are required to move forward into a type certification programme with the production Airlander 10. Being awarded the POA in 2018 is a remarkable achievement. It typically takes over a year to prepare a facility for a POA audit. HAV only moved into our production facility, the Airlander Technology Centre, in June and were able to be audit-ready in under six months. This success is down to the effort of the Production team, led by Ivor Pope. In addition to preparing the facility, the team at Technology House has been working to establish rigorous supply chain and quality assurance processes. "The POA approval is a significant milestone for HAV. It is the culmination of months of hard work and focused effort," comments David Lindley, HAV’s Head of Aviation Safety & Quality Assurance. "It demonstrates that the safety, quality assurance, and supply chain management processes are in place, along with the production facility." "Successfully being awarded our POA in the same year as our DOA is fantastic," adds Executive Director Nick Allman. "The POA is the regulator’s stamp of approval for us to move ahead with the productionisation of Airlander 10 on the path to type certification. This puts us in a great position going into 2019."  

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