Hybrid Air Vehicles are pleased to have welcomed Sir Gerald Howarth, MP who has officially started the Airlander 10 Engine Test Program. This marks another major milestone on the journey to bring the Airlander 10 to flight in the UK.
HAV’s work to prepare the Engine and test rig for this work has been supported by Innovate UK, the UK government’s organization that funds, supports and connects innovative businesses to accelerate sustainable economic growth. The LOCATE (Low Carbon Aircraft Technology Experimentation) program has, in addition, supported key work in aerodynamics, automation and manufacturing technologies, and has underpinned a doubling in size of Hybrid Air Vehicles’ staff in 2014.
The UK Government last week announced a £3.4 million Regional Growth Fund Grant (subject to due diligence) for HAV to help create the jobs that will enable the Airlander 10 to return to flight and enter full production. The aircraft will then enter a series of trials and demonstrations with a range of civil and military customers during 2016. The market for Airlander aircraft has been independently validated at over $50 billion over the next 20 years and this represents a huge opportunity to create over 1800 high-tech jobs in the UK.
HAV were joined by Alistair Burt, MP (Member for NE Beds, which is where the Cardington Hangars are based), Sir Gerald Howarth, MP and Dame Glynne Evans. Sir Gerald, who cut the ribbon to open the Engine rig, and who from 2010 to 2012 served as the Minister for International Security Strategy at the MoD, remarked, “HAV represents a great British success story, much of it achieved through dogged entrepreneurial determination and private investment over many years. I am thrilled to see the UK Government working together with this successful UK SME, making the very most of work which has previously been done by the Company for the US Army. Both the Innovate UK LOCATE program and the Regional Growth Fund grant will secure jobs, technology and export revenues for the UK.” Sir Gerald is pictured above, with HAV CEO, Stephen McGlennan, and Mr Burt.
Tom Grundy, HAV’s Operations Director said, “Airlander is an aircraft that can carry very large loads long distances and/or remain airborne for weeks at a time. We are showing customers worldwide that this can be a game-changer in many different airborne applications. Today’s run of our highly efficient Engine system is a big step towards the next flight of Airlander, and towards flight demonstrations of the aircraft’s capability in 2016. We have benefited from the support of Innovate UK and now the Regional Growth Fund to help us stay at the forefront of this exciting new area of flight here in Cardington.”
The Airlander, at 92m long, the largest and one of the greenest aircraft in the world, takes the best of airplanes and airships and combines them in a novel manner to create an entirely new type of aircraft that has ground-breaking capabilities. It can fly for 5 days non-stop, take-off and land from a range of surfaces, including water, and carry passengers in comfort on short-haul and tourism routes.
Today’s engine run used one of the Airlander’s four 325 hp, 4-liter V8 direct injection, turbocharged diesel engines. In flight, two engines are mounted forward on the hull and two on the stern of the hull for cruise operation. All four are configured in ducts with blown vanes to allow vectored thrust for take-off/landing/ground handling operation. The current tests are focused on identifying future improvements to Airlander propulsion systems ahead of flight tests on the Airlander 10 next year.
Source: Hybrid Air Vehicles