Airlander aims high with move into tourism

Posted on 12 Nov 2017 and read 457 times
Airlander aims high with move into tourismBedfordshire-based Airlander 10 (www.hybridairvehicles.com) — the world’s largest aircraft — will take its first-ever commercial passengers next year, after two deals announced by its creators — Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV).

Henry Cookson Adventures — a luxury travel brand — will be the first to trial the aircraft with an “expeditionary” maiden voyage next year, ahead of wider anticipated use in the travel and adventure sector.

Meanwhile, Innovate UK has allocated £60,000 for Design Q to design luxury interiors for the passenger cabins.

HAV has previously described its “a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft” as suitable for lengthy surveillance or survey missions, as well as heavy-goods transport; it can stay airborne for up to five days at a time.

Chief test pilot Dave Burns said: “I have flown Airlander a number of times now, and I am really excited about the possibility of taking the first passengers on board.”

The Airlander uses huge helium-filled hulls to become airborne, but it also has an aerodynamic shape to increase its lift efficiency.

Diesel engines on the side and rear propel the aircraft, and HAV claims that it can land on unprepared sites in deserts, on ice, on water and in open fields.

After next year’s trial flight, Henry Cookson plans trips to landscapes as varied as the North Pole, the Bolivian salt flats and the Namib desert.

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