UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) announced this week that it was awarded a Design Organization Approval (DOA) by EASA. The DOA is seen as a significant milestone for eventual commercial production of the company’s Airlander 10 hybrid aircraft, which can now formally undertake comprehensive flight testing required for type certification.
Hybrid Air Vehicles describes the Airlander as an aircraft that combines “the characteristics of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter-than-air technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft, with a significantly lower carbon footprint and operating cost than other forms of air transport.”
Compared to jet aircraft, however, hybrid airships move at much slower speeds (albeit at potentially lower operating costs) – the key advantage of airships is that they don’t require airstrips or ground infrastructure. Without a need for airport facilities, airships are seen as a suitable choice for transporting cargo in remote areas and harsh environments.
The Airlander 10 boasts a 10-tonne cargo payload and can fly at speeds of 105 nmph, with a range of up to 2,000 nm. HAV has proposed a larger Airlander 50, with a planned payload of up to 60 tonnes, but this program is likely years behind the smaller variant. Following the issuance of a DOA, Hybrid Air Vehicles expects to certify and begin delivering the aircraft from the early 2020s.
Those interested in learning more about air freight trends are invited to join us 10-12 October at Cargo Facts Symposium, where a panel discussion will be dedicated to the topic. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactssymposium.com.