Hybrid Air Vehicles, a company occupying Airlander 10 aircraft (the world's longest aircraft and also known as the "flying ball" for similarity to a barrel), announced on Sunday that its current prototype will not be rebuilt, but plans to build a new generation of airships, Guardian reported.
HAV, based in Bedford, UK, has already received approval from the Civil Aviation Authority for a new line of aircraft imposed in early 2020, writes Guardian. The document quotes its CEO Stephen McGlennan:
"Our focus is now on putting the first-class production standard, certified Airlander 10 aircraft into service," said company manager Stephen McGlennan.
“The prototype served as the world's first full-size hybrid aircraft, giving us the data we need to move from a prototype to a manufacturing standard. As a result, we do not plan to fly the prototype again. ”
HAV describes 302 feet (92 meters) of Airlander 10 on its website, combining "the best features of fixed wing airplanes and helicopters with lighter than air technology to create a new kind of overactive aircraft." Made of carbon fiber, kevlar and mylar, and staying there for inert helium, ships were developed by HAV and Northrop Grumman in cooperation with the US Army's experimental Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) program and backed up HAV 304.
Later, the troops lifted LEMV and the aircraft was bought back by HAV, returned to one of its facilities in Cardington and converted to Airlander 10, a civilian model. According to the Guardian, it has reached heights of 7000 feet (2.134 m) and a maximum speed of 50 knots.
Along with its size and barrel-like appearance, the Airlander 10 is also known for accidents involving two out of six test flights. In August 2016, the aircraft crashed after launching from RAF Cardington Airport to Bedfordshire. In November 2017, the ship was removed from the berths before ripping, and the company said deflation was due to automatic security features designed to lower it if it breaks free. One person suffered minor injuries in the last incident.
According to Guardian, HAV had to refuse to use Airlander 10 prototype as a "test article and sales demonstrator" after the last incident, although it had earned more than $ 25 million (£ 20 million) in insurance costs for "very serious damage" On the aircraft. McGlennan said HAV is now focusing on moving forward with the Airlander model, which includes "all the differences between the prototype and the product." The Guardian added that HAV seems to be moving quickly in the regulatory process:
Established in 2007, the company added that it is "in a strong position to launch new aircraft" with a design approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency.
It claimed that the CAA production organization approval audit usually takes more than a year, but the Airlander Technology Center was ready within six months.
As Verge pointed out, in addition to any Airlander 10 planned successor, HAV plans the Airlander 50 model, which it describes as its "big brother" capable of carrying 55 US tons.[The Guardian via the Verge]