Airlander 10 has successfully completed its first flight. All objectives of the planned flight were accomplished and the aircraft is now safely back at its masting site. Airlander 10 took off from the historic Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire, England at approximately 19:45 on Wednesday 17th of August, after a short flight it landed at 20:00, before dark. The two Test Pilots were ecstatic about the flight and the flight performance of Airlander 10 during its time in the air.
Cardington, Bedfordshire, UK – The first flight of Airlander 10 is a historic success and marks the commencement of Airlander 10’s Flight Test Programme which is expected to last for a number of months. After this the aircraft will begin a series of Trials and Demonstrations with prospective customers.
Airlander 10 has been widely hailed as an innovation that will have a hugely positive impact on the world by providing low carbon aviation and brand new capabilities in the sky. Customer interest is strong due to these game-changing capabilities of the Airlander – it offers a stable platform with huge amounts of power and space for search & rescue or communications equipment, and also offers a unique passenger experience.
Chief Test Pilot Dave Burns said, «It was privilege to fly the Airlander for the first time and it flew wonderfully. I’m really excited about getting it airborne. It flew like a dream».
A confirmatory Pre-flight test began at 09:00 this morning and once Technical Director Mike Durham, Chief Test Pilot David Burns and Ground Operations Chief Alex Travell were all in agreement, clearance was granted for First Flight to commence. These three have been working together for almost thirty years, which illustrates the depth of experience and know-how within Hybrid Air Vehicles.
The four massive but quiet engines were started approximately 30 minutes before takeoff. Once airborne, Chief Test Pilot David Burns, accompanied by Test Pilot Simon Davies, flew the majestic Airlander within a 5 nautical mile/6-mile/9.6 km area around Cardington Airfield, just to the south of Bedford, in England. Airlander climbed to a height of 500 feet/152 m and reached a maximum speed of 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h. Due to a later than anticipated take-off time the Airlander was limited to a 19-minute flight so we could land safely before darkness fell.
All test objectives were met during the flight. These included the safe launch, flight and landing of the Airlander 10 and a series of gentle turns at increasing speed. Some technical tests on its hull pressure were also undertaken.
The Airlander is expected to be a showcase of UK innovation and is already being used in the UK Government’s «GREAT Britain» campaign to highlight the strength of the aerospace sector and the innovation in engineering this country is capable of creating. As the Airlander approaches first flight, customer interest has increased, particularly in the defence and security sector, and this, together with UK Government support should secure 400 new aerospace jobs as well as valuable export opportunities for the UK economy. The next step is to ensure the UK Government runs a trial in order to demonstrate the potential of this amazing aircraft to the world and secure the lucrative exports, and grow further jobs in Bedfordshire and in the supply chain across the UK (80% of Airlander’s supply chain is British). This will help ensure the £6m of UK Government grants received thus far lead to orders. Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd is also looking to raise equity through High Net Worth individuals and Institutional Investors to fund some aspects of the Flight Test Programme.
|Envelope Volume||1,340,000 feet³/38,000 m³|
|Length||302 feet/92 m|
|Width||143 feet/43.5 m|
|Height||85 feet/26 m|
|Endurance||5 days manned|
|Altitude||up to 16,000 feet/4,880 m|
|Cruise Speed||80 knots/92 mph/148 km/h|
|Loiter Speed||20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h|
|Total Weight||44,100 lbs/20,000 kg|
|Payload capacity||up to 22,050 lbs/10,000 kg|