Airships are back on the rise. After years of silence, the Airlander 10 is back with new projects. Larger than an A380, this electric aircraft would already interest several companies specialized in green tourism.
It is the Airlander 10, the largest aircraft in the world, designed and developed by the British start-up Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV). It is one of the most advanced projects. Since its inception in 2013, the airship has completed several successful tests before the prototype crashed in 2017. The company took its time to make the necessary modifications and repairs before returning with new projects.
New design and new hybrid propulsion system:
Nearly 100 meters long, a cabin of more than 2,000 square meters, retractable landing gear, and the ability to store 10 tons of cargo, the airship’s new technical sheet is impressive. The aircraft has also received numerous modifications to improve its aerodynamics, its autonomy, and its maximum load. Its more rounded nose and new tail have been tested in the wind tunnel at Mercedes Grand Prix to make it more efficient and less sensitive to atmospheric variations. The aircraft can stay in flight for up to 5 days at a maximum of 6000 meters, and travel from 7500 to 8500 km depending on its configuration.
The British company has also come up with a new hybrid propulsion system to reduce its fuel consumption. In its previous version, the airship was already 75% more efficient than its competitors in terms of CO2 emissions, HAV believes it can reach 90%.
100% electric propulsion :
Collins Aerospace announced June 29, 2021, that it has completed the critical design review and begun manufacturing a 500-kilowatt electric motor for the Airlander 10 in a partnership with Hybrid Air Vehicles and the University of Nottingham. HAV plans a clear timeline for its aircraft:
To achieve these improvements, the British start-up plans to replace the plane’s four internal combustion engines with 500-kilowatt Collins electric motors, starting with the two front engines in 2025 and the two rear engines in 2030.
Intercity travel planned by 2025 :
The Airlander 10, futuristically styled, with a seating capacity of 100 passengers and powered by helium and electricity and capable of flying at speeds up to 130 kilometers per hour and flying for five consecutive days.
The start-up has specified the routes that could be flown : it would be from Seattle to Vancouver, which will take just over four hours, and from Oslo to Stockholm in six and a half hours.
HAV says the CO2 footprint of its airship will be about 4.5 kilograms per passenger, compared to 67.75 kg per passenger on a jet plane.
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