Airlander successfully completed its final validation and verification four-engine test on Tuesday 4 April, which means it is now flight-ready. A number of further confirmatory tests will be undertaken outside, after which the Airlander will fly under permissions granted by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the UK CAA.
Hybrid Air Vehicles expect Airlander to be flying again very soon. Our focus remains the safest early flight, and we will not announce the flight date in advance.
Hybrid Air Vehicles is in the final stages of an equity financing raise from its existing shareholders, which has gone very well. Nearly £5 million has been secured already and approximately £1 million remains available.
The Airlander is the world’s longest aircraft and is designed to stay airborne for days with a 10,000kg payload, and travel to remote regions with its land-anywhere ability carrying cargo. It is likely that an early use will be for passenger tourist flights. Customer interest in all these areas has been extremely strong.
The full Flight Test Program will take a number of months and is split into 3 phases, each with the Airlander increasing its flight “envelope” by incrementally increasing its range and duration, the complexity of flight maneuvers, its speed and altitude and its payload. Over coming weeks the Airlander will be a common sight over Bedfordshire and later this year, over the rest of the UK.
The aircraft was moved out of the hangar by Hybrid Air Vehicles’ expert Ground Crew in a maneuver which lasted just a few minutes. Airlander is a 92 meter long aircraft and has only 3 meters of clearance on either side as it exits the doors of the its hangar, however with state-of-the-art ground equipment this is easily achieved.
“With our next flight just round the corner, this opens a new chapter in aviation history. An aircraft that flies in an entirely new way and which can do so many useful things is about to be a regular sight over the UK. I think we’ll amaze people!” said HAV’s CEO, Stephen McGlennnan.
“This was a slick, smart and safe operation tonight. The team did fantastic.” said Alex Travell, Ground Operations Chief, who masterminded the procedure.
During the last 7 months the team at Hybrid Air Vehicles have repaired the damage to the front of the aircraft caused by its heavy landing on 24 August 2017. In addition, a series of improvements and modifications have been implemented which were announced last week. These include new “landing feet” called the Auxiliary Landing System (ALS) and a new Mobile Mooring Mast. The ALS will deploy on final approach and will help protect the Cockpit. Airlander also now has the ability to easily recover the mooring line. Significant training and testing has also been completed.
Source: Hybrid Air Vehicles – hybridairvehicles.com