Design Engineering

Hybrid aircraft Airlander 10 set to take flight


General Aerospace Hybrid Air Vehicles

The Airlander 10 project has reached another milestone with assembly of the aircraft now complete.

British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) boasts that the world’s largest aircraft is ready to take off for its first test flight.

The Airlander 10 project kicked off in May 2015 and the company is happy to report that assembly of the aircraft is now complete, on time and on budget.

Airlander 10“I’m extremely excited and looking forward to taking Airlander on what I’m sure will be a very successful First Flight,” says Chief Test Pilot, David Burns.

Hybrid Air Vehicles has yet to announce a date for First Flight but will conduct the flight from and to Cardington Air Field, near Bedford. The remainder of 2016 will see an extensive Flight Test Programme consisting of 200 hours of test flights over a number of months, then a series of trials and demonstrations with prospective customers, the company explains.


Hybrid Air Vehicles created the Airlander 10 combining characteristics of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter-than-air technology. This hybrid aircraft offers a low carbon footprint and operating cost. The aircraft has no internal structure but it becomes rigid through being filled with helium at just above atmospheric pressure. The hull material is an innovative composition, which includes a woven fabric for strength on the inside, and a Tedlar layer for protection on the outside, sandwiching a mylar film to retain the helium.

“The Airlander 10 is designed to stay airborne for up to five days at a time to fulfill a wide range of communication and survey roles, as well as cargo carrying and tourist passenger flights,” explains the British firm.

An Airlander produces 60 per cent of its lift aerostatically (by being lighter-than-air) and 40 per cent aerodynamically (by being wing-shaped) as well as having the ability to rotate its engines to provide an additional 25 per cent of thrust up or down. This means the Airlander can hover on land and almost any other surface, including ice, desert and even water, boasts Hybrid Air Vehicles in a press release.


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