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 Makes Key Appointments
Today, Hybrid Air Vehicles announces key appointments to prepare the business for growth and the launch of our Airlander 10 production programme. With customer interest increasing, these appointments are an important step in getting HAV ready for the future.   As a part of HAV’s preparations for rapid growth, our Board has appointed Tom Grundy as Chief Executive Officer, effective 30th May. Tom has been with the business for six years and has been instrumental in driving progress forward with customers and other stakeholders across a variety of markets.   Tom brings with him significant experience in the aerospace and defence industry which has proved very valuable to HAV, and will continue to be so in his new role. A Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, his prior experience covers a range of senior engineering and programme leadership roles at BAE Systems, including serving as the Head of Business Management for ATTAC, the Tornado availability support service.   Tom comments: “I am honoured and excited to be given the opportunity to lead HAV through its transition to a successful commercial business. This business is poised to deliver an aircraft that offers new choices to customers in a low-carbon, capable, flexible, and cost-effective way. I look forward to working with the whole team to make our goals a reality.”   Stephen McGlennan, who has served as HAV’s CEO for six years, will step into a new role as Senior Board Advisor and General Counsel. We are delighted that in this new role Steve will continue to provide the company with the benefits of his deep experience and his long understanding of HAV’s business. HAV thanks Steve for his enormous contribution to the business in his time as CEO, and as COO and General Counsel before that.   We have also named a new Chief Operating Officer, Nick Allman. Nick has held several roles at HAV, most recently that of Executive Director – Aircraft Delivery. He has brought the team from successfully securing the LEMV programme, through first flight, to being ready for production launch, and will now move forward with greater responsibility for the management of operations across the business.   We can also confirm that, as the time commitment demanded by the rapid developments at HAV has proved more onerous than anticipated given his other activities, Kevin Taylor and HAV have, by mutual consent, agreed that Kevin will step down as the Chairman and a Director of the company. Rod Sinclair, a long-standing Director, has taken on the Chairmanship of the Company. He comments: “I am delighted to be working with Tom, the Board and the leadership team of the business as we prepare HAV for launch of its production aircraft programme.”   Full biographies of Tom Grundy, Nick Allman, Stephen McGlennan, and Rod Sinclair are available upon request.

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.
Here at HAV we are preparing for the future, as customer interest increases, with a new CEO and COO. Find out how t…
Tom Grundy announced as the new CEO at HAV, plus a number of other key appointments. Read about the exciting change…
We are pleased to announce key new appointments here at HAV, including a new CEO and COO. Read more to explore how…