Sunday, July 21, 2024

This giant Flying Bum to go hybrid-electric by 2025

Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) announces the latest modifications to the Airlander 10 before being put into the service in 2024. The Airlander 10 returns in an improved version with a new, more aerodynamic design and a new hybrid propulsion system. The company is currently developing electric engines with the goal of delivering a hybrid-electric Airlander 10 within five years.

The aerial vehicle, a halfway between an airplane and an airship, is the largest plane in the world that exceeds 90 meters in length and can accommodate 19 passengers, whose adventure through the heavens promises to be unforgettable.

The new design and a new hybrid propulsion system allow it to reduce its fuel consumption significantly. In its previous version, the airship was already 75% more efficient than its competitors in terms of CO2 emissions. And now the hybrid-electric propulsion system will provide a 90% reduction on emissions over other aircraft, while also offering operational flexibility in service.

The company also says that Airlander 10, nicknamed “The Flying Bum,” only needs a minimum of infrastructure and is very quiet. It accepts a maximum load of 10 tons and can be in the air for five days advancing at a maximum speed of 148 km/h (92 mph) and up to 20,000 feet high. The airship is powered by a total of four 325 hp (242 kW) V8 diesel engine, each furnished with a 67 hp (50 kW) generator, which provides electrical power for the airship and its mission systems.

In the hybrid-electric mode, the rear two diesel engines will remain as it is, while the front two will be replaced by 500-kW electric motors. The pilot can fly it in fully electric mode by only using those two motors and use both motors and engines together for faster hybrid-electric propulsion.

Ultimately, the firm aims to switch to all-electric. It is currently developing a 100% electric propulsion system in partnership with Collins Aerospace and the University of Nottingham. It is unclear, however, whether it will be ready for the first commercial flights of 2024.

HAV estimates that it will be able to produce a dozen of Airlander 10 aircrafts a year from 2024, but has yet to fill its order book. Also, before taking off, it must, in fact, be certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration.