Airlander lifts off as preparations continue for debut test flight

Mar 26, 2016

Airlander 10 is expected to take its first test flight within the next few months but first must go through a ground testing phase.

The first flight wil be from and to Cardington Airfield, Airlander’s owner Hybrid Air Vehicles says.

The aircraft also has its multi-use cabin attached ahead of showing Airlander’s range of potential uses to prospective customers.

Airlander 10 has ground-breaking use as an ultra-endurance communications and monitoring platform, for cargo without need for airports or other infrastructure and for tourism and leisure passenger flights. The cabin will permit trials and demonstrations of all these roles.

Chief test pilot David Burns said: “I am extremely excited and looking forward to taking Airlander on what I’m sure will be a very successful first flight.”

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 Airlander has been built by a workforce of 120 at the historic Cardington No.1 Hangar.

Founded in 2007, Hybrid Air Vehicles is the company behind the innovative Airlander range of hybrid aircraft.  They utilise new aerospace technology that combines the best of 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. 

The Airlander 10 is designed to stay airborne for up to five days at a time to fulfil a wide range of communication and survey roles, as well as cargo carrying and tourist passenger flights .

The project so far has been funded by a record-breaking £2.1million crowdfunding, together with a £2.5 million UK government grant and an EU Horizon 2020 grant of €2.5 million.

Subject to limited availability, Hybrid Air Vehicles will offer an opportunity immediately after Easter for a crowdfunding investment via equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. 

Hybrid Air Vehicles’ existing shareholders include plc chairmen, business angels and professional investors. The company currently has around 1000 shareholders who collectively have invested over £17.5 million of equity and debt in the company since its formation in 2007. 

HAV has benefited from over £60 million of investment in the aircraft from the US government and around £7 million of EU and UK government grants.  

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