304 inflation and further construction at Cardington
Elliptical Airship or "Burney Airship"
Elliptical Airship landing on water
cross section of the Ellipitical ship
comparison with Airbus A380
detail of the control cabin
profile of envelope
profile of enveolope
shots of the HAV 304 in flight in it's United States
Army livery prior to arrival at Cardington
of the pictures of the ship following the mooring
incident on 18th November 2017
Airlander over Cardington during second flight (photo courtesy
exit Evening of 7th April 2017 (photos with thanks and courtesty
of Trevor Monk)
the final dismantling of the R100 in 1932, had a Cardington Shed
shed been seen filled with an airship envelope of a size of comparison.
The HAV 340
or know as the "Airlander 10" is the first large scale
ship produced by company Hybrid Air Vehicles. The company owes
many of it's 30 year history and background to Airship
from the 1980's, and it's designer and Director, Roger Munk.
had worked on a smaller scale model of the ship during the early
part of the 2010's and a proof of concept vehicle had show, one
interested purchaser, that the vehicle could fill a role in aviation
surveillance and cargo transportation. That interested party was
the United States Army who asked the company to design and build
the ship for them.
This was completed
in 2013, however as part of the recession and budget cuts, the
project was decided to be dropped. The ship was completed, and
had flown a test flight, proving airworthiness in the United States.
It was the quick decision of Hybrid Air Vehicles, to purchase
the ship back off the United States Army, deflate, and return
it to the UK.
the ship arrived back in December 2013 and was air inflated in
the recently restored Shed 1 at Cardington, probably the only
building which was capable of storing such an aircraft. At the
present time, the ship will be slowly re-inflated and floated
with inert helium.
concept of the Elliptical Airship
of the AIRLANDER may be seen as a completely new hull design compared
to historical and contemporary airships. However the shape can
be traced back to as early as 1929, when Sir Dennistoun Burney,
the driver behind the Imperial Airship Scheme, working with Barnes
Wallis, had come up with the wing shaped concept. Quoting from
his book "The World, The Air, The Future" the ship would be designed
basic idea of the new pontoon-equipped dirigible is to enable
it to land at unprepared places. Our object is to keep the ship
under dynamic control by means of rudders and elevators, until
it can be securely held, and is no longer in danger of being blown
over by a side wind. To achieve this, two long floats, similar
to the hulls of flying boats, but much larger, were constructed
under midship. These are fitted with ballast tanks, and fixed
to the hull, as far apart in a transverse direction as possible.
At the same time the section is altered from the standard circular
to an elliptical section. This reduces the overall height and
lessens resistance to side winds. It also increases the dynamic
lift at a given speed, and by enabling the boat hull to be more
widely spread, increases the righting moment of the floats.
of course, many minor problems connected with the development
of the new dirigible. The advantages of the Ellip- tical ship
by no means stop at mooring and handling. Owing to greater width
of beam, it will have at any given speed a greater dynamic lift
and therefore less difficulty in maintaining an approximately
even keel in the air than is the case with a circular vessel.
Again, as it will be able to dispense with the greater part of
the ballast now carried, the equivalent weight of this can be
added to the pay load. Nor must we forget the all-important question
of size. A helpful factor in the construction of dirigibles is
that efficiency increases with size. Hitherto, it has been impossible
to increase size to any great extent, owing to the difficulty
of handling and the fact they cannot make an unpremeditated landing.
In the case of the pontoon-equipped ship, however, these hindrances
will be removed, and it will be possible to build a ship of twice
or even three times the capacity of R100 or R101. "
is designed to be the safest form of air travel. The vehicle does
not stall, lands on any reasonably flat surface and has a takeoff
and landing speed of around 40 knots. It is fitted with four propulsion
units and with close on 10,000 Shaft horsepower (SHP) for the
50 tonne variant it has sufficient power and range to deal with
the most challenging environments;
A vehicle that uses a combination of buoyancy (helium gas) and
aerodynamics (the shape of the body) to generate lift. This hybrid
is in essence an aircraft with some inherent buoyancy, similar
to a lifting body (a vehicle in which the body itself produces
lift). This design creates the perfect balance between economic
flight (typically associated with airships), operational flexibility
(typically associated with helicopters), range and payload;
The AIRLANDER range consists of two groups Surveillance
and Heavy Lift. The surveillance vehicle can operate at up to
16,000 feet, 5 days manned. The Heavy Lift version is designed
for transportation of passengers and cargo;
A key attribute is operational flexibility. In addition to Conventional
Take-Off and Landing (CTOL), the vehicle is also capable of Vertical
Take-Off and Landing (VTOL). It can, for example, hover like a
helicopter while hoisting up to 40% of its designed payload
20 tons in the case of the AIRLANDER 50. However, the range and
payload of the vehicle far exceeds that of helicopters - most
rotary aircraft have an operating radius of 150 300 nautical
miles (278 556 kilometres), whereas the AIRLANDER 50 has
a range of 2,600 nautical miles (4,815 kilometres);
The AIRLANDER excels in operational efficiency. For example, the
Heavy Lift version requires little or no infrastructure to operate.
For CTOL it requires no runway and less than four hull lengths
to take off or land. The surveillance model, currently being built
for the US Army, was rated by the Congressional Budget Office
as having a payload-duration about 80 times that of the
Grey Eagle (the next best competitor); The Heavy Lift version
uses an innovative landing system called Air Cushion Landing System
(ACLS). This enables the vehicle to land on almost any reasonably
flat surface, including land, water, ice and snow. Suction can
also be used to ensure the vehicle remains stationary during loading
and off-loading. This lack of reliance on infrastructure allows
the vehicle to operate point-to-point (from source to site), offering
major benefits in terms of time, risk reduction, operating costs
and the environment.
is a hybrid air vehicle and derives its flight capability from
a mix of aerodynamic lift and helium buoyancy.
is constructed from a laminated fabric that offers strength, a
gas barrier and protection against the elements. It also has an
internal catenary system supporting the payload module. The hulls
aerodynamic shape, an elliptical cross-section allied to a cambered
longitudinal shape, provides roughly 40% of the vehicles
lift. The internal diaphragms required to support this shape allow
for some compartmentalisation, further enhancing the fail-safe
nature of the vehicle. Multiple air-filled ballonets located fore
and aft in each of the hulls form part of the automated pressure
that operate from a set base, simple profiled pneumatic tubes
on the underside of the two outer hulls are used. This simplified
landing system saves weight and is used mainly on the unmanned
surveillance vehicles, further increasing their endurance.
Lift versions of the AIRLANDER uses an innovative landing system
called the Air Cushion Landing System (ACLS). This enables the
vehicle to land on almost any reasonably flat surface including
land, water, ice and snow. The ACLS is also used, in conjunction
with the bow thruster, to simplify manoeuvrability on the ground,
reducing the need to operate the main propulsion units. The ACLS
can also be used to create suction to ensure the AIRLANDER remains
stationary during loading and off-loading.
systems are deflated and sucked-into the hull for
a clean in-flight profile. The power units used for inflation
/ deflation are shared with the ballonet fans and managed by the
hull pressurisation system.
AIRLANDER is effectively an aircraft with inherent buoyancy, it
is fitted with significant power plants that are more akin to
those found on fixed wing aircraft. While most airships have less
than 1,000 SHP (Shaft Horsepower), the AIRLANDER 50, for example,
will have four turbine engines generating around 10,000 SHP.
At the present
time we will continue to monitor the progress of the return of
the airships to Cardington. We are working with the Hybrid Air
Vehicles team and will provide details and updates as and when
available. With the excitement building, it looks like the Airlander
10 will be flying above Bedfordshire on proving flights in April
or May 2016.
new ship 2016
and 2015 the ship was reassembled and checked, replacing the main
gondola and command cabin, and installation of upgraded and improved
equipment. Engline tests and helium ordered over the summer of
2015, with final completion and assembly in winter 2015. By March
2016, the ship was completed and on 21st March the ship was unveilled
to the world press.
UK Flight - 17th August 2016
The HAV Airlander
10 prototype was walked out of shed 1, at 04:00AM on the morning
of Saturday 6th August, whereby the ship was moved to the souther
part of the landing field. The ship spent a week undergoing engine
tests and pre flight preparations outside.
On the evening
of 17th August at 7:40pm the Airlander 10 prototype took to the
skies for a short local test flight of 30 minutes. All systems
and operations worked perfectly.
The ship remained
at the mooring site for a further 7 days, for further engine tests
and crew training.
UK Flight - 24th August 2016
On the morning
of 24th August the HAV Airlander 10 took off for it's second test
flight, performing perfectly for a first 100 minute flight and
successful test flight, which demonstrated the excellent flight
characteristics of Airlander, and the test objectives in the second
flight completed included a series of turns at increasing speed,
and a series of climbs and descents up to 3,000 feet in altitude
over a 100 minute flight. Some technical tests on hull pressure
were also undertaken. On return at 12:30pm the ship came in to
land, but the front nose dropped causing damage to the flight
deck and forward gondola. The ship was able to land, and both
the test pilot and engineers were unharmed.
The ship was
checked over, and then it was decided to move the HAV Airlander
10 prototype in to Shed 1, where she was returned at 8:00pm that
evening. The HAV team are reviewing the operations and undertaking
the first stages of returning the aircraft back to flight.
to Flight - April 2017
Over the winter
of 2016, the HAV Airlander was shed bound, whilst the full investigation
in to the heavy landing of the second flight, and repairs to the
cockpit could be undertaken. The official
report noted that a mooring line had become jammed, and hence
snagged on power lines when coming in to land, this meant that
the pilot had to make a higher landing than originally planned.
This lead to the damage caused on the second landing. These issues
were reviewed and 63 mondifications were made to the ship following
the report. The ship's design changes includes deployable "bump
bags" which can be deployed in 15 seconds on landing which
will protect the cockpit but also stop the nose from "surging"
to the ground.
night of 7th April 2017, the HAV Airlander was taken out of the
shed and moored awaiting further air trials in the spring. Further
ground testing and engine trials followed the week later whislt
out on the airfield.
UK Flight - 10th May 2017
of Wednesday 10th May was the perfect evening for the first testing
flight of 2017, as the Airlander 10 returned to the skies. The
team were delighted to announce a successful flight of the Airlander
10 . All objectives of the planned flight were accomplished. The
Airlander was taken off its mooring mast at 17:20 and took off
at 17:28. It flew for a total of three hours before landing at
20:15 and was secured safely on the mast at 20:20.
On board were Airlanders two Test Pilots; Chief Test Pilot
Dave Burns and Experimental Test Pilot, Simon Davies.
UK Flight - 13 June 2017
continued its pioneering test flight programme by successfully
completing another flight over Bedfordshire. This is the Airlander
10s fourth flight and second in 2017. Each flight sees Airlander
pushing its envelope a little further and increasing our understanding
of this innovative new aircraft.
The Airlander was taken off its mooring mast at 6.10pm and took
off at 6.12pm. It flew for a total of 3 hrs 23 minutes before
landing at 9.25pm and was secured safely on the mast at 9.33pm.
Test Objectives revolved around expanding the flight envelope
and further testing of the flight characteristics. The ship reached
3700 feet altitude and 37 knots speed and these are approaching
the maximum limits the Airlander team will go to during our initial
test flights whilst they calibrate all data on Airlander. They
expect to expand this envelope significantly in a few flights
once the basic handling has been fully tested.
UK Flight - 4th July 2017
overcast evening greeted the Airlander in continued its test flight
programme for it's fifth test flight.
The Airlander took off at 18:07pm. It flew for a total of 2 hours
and 22 minutes before landing at 20:36pm and was secured safely
on the mast. It was a good flight despite low cloud keeping the
ship to 3500ft. Chief Test Pilot, Dave Burns, practiced at landing
at altitude and landed exceptionally smoothly.
The HAV team
then moved the Airlander in to shed 1 after this flight for inspection
and further testing.
UK Flight - 17th November 2017
On the evening
of 17th November, the ship took off at 15:30pm for a short early
evening flight, landing just after 16:32pm.
incident - Saturday 18th November 2017
On the morning
of Saturday 18th November, at 10:30am, the Airlander 10 broke
free of it's mooring on the airfield. As this was an unplanned
"launch" the emergency systems within the ship fired,
which were designed in the ship for just such an eventuality to
avoid accidental loss and free balooning. The emergency system
of compressed gas "bolts" fired correclty and deflated
the envelope to ensure the ship stayed close to the ground. The
Airlander came to rest in the land adjoining the lower side of
the airfield. One HAV staff member sustained injury and sought
medical assistance, but was discharged late that day, and one
staff memeber was injured in securing the envelope. The ship has
remained on the scene of the incident whilst air accident investigation
team investigate the root cause of the ship breaking free.
that once the investigation has been completed, then they will
move the ship to a secure site, and then the rebuilding of the
new envelope will commence.