HAV304 back in UK
Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd (HAV) announced today that the world's largest flying aircraft, the HAV304, has arrived back in the UK following a period of development in the USA.
This colossal move involved 15 large containers, containing 70 tonnes of equipment. The largest container was a specially constructed 25m long x 4.5m wide x 3m high wide box containing the deflated hull envelope. It took four days and the use of a 50- and 100-tonne crane to unload this equipment.
When inflated, the hybrid air vehicle will be 91 m (300 ft) long, 34 m (113 ft) wide and 26 m (85 ft) high – the largest aircraft in the world. The hull will be filled with the safe, inert gas helium.
Stephen McGlennan, CEO said: “This day marks the start of a new era for the British aerospace industry and this innovative technology will transform air transport in a sustainable way that we believe the public will support.”
Hybrid Air Vehicles are an innovative new technology that combines the best of the characteristics of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter-than-air technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft, with a significantly lower carbon footprint than other forms of air transport.
The HAV304 is designed to stay airborne for up to three weeks at a time to fulfil a wide range of communication and survey roles, and this will lead to the development of the Airlander 50, which will transport 50 tonnes of freight and burns around a quarter the amount of fuel of a typical aeroplane doing the same job.
Hybrid air vehicles produce less noise, less pollution, a lower carbon footprint and have longer endurance and better cargo-carrying capacity than other aircraft. They can take off and land vertically and operate from a range of austere environments including water, desert, ice and fields.
Throughout 2014 the HAV304 will continue to be tested and developed with stages of air-inflation, helium-inflation and first UK flight by the end of 2014.
The HAV304 has moved into Hangar 1 at Cardington, Bedfordshire – the biggest hangar in the UK at 812ft long x 157ft high x 180ft wide (247.5m x 48m x 55m). Cardington has been the spiritual home of the British Airship industry throughout its history.