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Hybrid Air Vehicle: Meet the Airlander

By Chris Stonor

In an Urban Air Mobility News occasional series of more exotic aerial vehicles either already on the market or presently being designed, it is the turn of the UK-based Bedford company, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) and its Airlander 10.

 Read previous series feature on Airspeeder:


Read previous series feature on Manta Aircraft:


Forget the Hindenburg and its catastrophic crash in 1937, indelibly marked on to humanity’s psyche, technology has moved on – somewhat – in the last 80 or so years. It may have taken time, but airships are becoming ever more acceptable.

The company’s website says, “Airlander uses a combination of proven aerospace technologies from a mixture of airships (hull fabric and helium), fixed-wing aircraft (composite structures, engines, and avionics), and helicopters (vectored thrust). This combination makes Airlander a cutting edge aircraft with a game changing capability.”

Unfortunately, that word ‘helium’ doesn’t help matters. Although, Helium balloon gas is a safe, non-flammable, non-toxic gas which is lighter than air. It can be used safely either indoors or outdoors, provided “appropriate care is taken.”

HAV’s website continues, “Airlander’s helium-filled hull and low flight speed also make it a low-vibration and low-G aircraft, which improves reliability. The aircraft also has features that make it inherently safer than other aircraft. This is particularly true in comparison to helicopters, as Airlander is not reliant on any single engine.” It adds, “The design of a hybrid aircraft, combining buoyant lift from helium with aerodynamic lift and vectored thrust, creates significant efficiency over conventional fixed and rotary wing aircraft.”

What is most intriguing is that the Airlander has the potential to carry and use future battery and solar cell technologies. The company is researching with the industry to develop electric engines suitable for the Airlander 10.

There you go!

The website points out, “Thanks to Airlander’s modular design, we can progressively adopt these electric engines, first as a hybrid of electric and fuel-burning engines before moving to all-electric. This provides a realistic and risk-reduced development path for this vital technology.” Yet, even in its current hybrid-powered configuration, Airlander 10 produces approximately 75 percent fewer emissions than comparable aircraft in similar roles.

There is plenty of information on the Airlander 10 within the Youtube videos below. Please view them.

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