MIAMI – Hybrid Air Vehicle takes another step as the company confirms ILC Dover as the hull provider for the first production aircraft.

ILC Dover, a world leader in the design and production of engineered flexible protective solutions for the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries since 1947, has already supplied the hull for the first Airlander 10 prototype aircraft and is retained to continue with the development of the aircraft.

Since the 1960s, ILC Dover is involved in space products and has been the principal supplier of space suits since the Apollos moon flights where its space suits have been used and may soon be used on Mars.

HAV Airlander 10 in Hangar. Image: HAV Media Library

Composite Materials Hull

While the hull is the main part of an airframe, the Airlander 10 has a specific particularity: it is inflatable and its shape is determined by the pressure of the Helium gas that fills it. The material used must be weather-resistant, as smooth as possible to avoid the accumulation of dirt and ensure a long service life while being exposed to the open air practically every day of the year.

To obtain a hull having all those characteristics, the solution is, as in a classic aircraft or race cars, made of composite materials. Multiple layers of different materials are laminated together to create a single fabric reuniting all necessary properties. In the case of Airlander 10, the production process results in a flexible material instead of a rigid one.

Each layer has its own properties: on the outside, Tedlar provides weather protection, Mylar ensures that Helium gas is contained, and Woven Vectran stands in for the structural strength. The layers are bonded together by a UV (Ultraviolet) resistant urethane glue and, once assembled, ensure that the Airlander is fit to operate in its various applications.

HAV Airlander 10 Cabin Bar Concept. Image: HAV Media Library

Comments from HAV

Mike Durham, Chief Technical Officer at HAV commented on the achievement, “The Airlander 10 hull is an integral part of our aircraft. We trust ILC Dover to deliver innovative material that is carefully assessed, developed, and tested to an extremely high standard.

Durham added that ILC Dover worked to the same high standards that HAV did and expected of all of the company’s trusted suppliers.

HAV Airlander 10 Cabin Lounge Concept. Image: HAV Media Library

Future Plans

Another development in the Airlander 10 completion is the completion of the 500kW E-HAV1 design, whose fabrication has been started by Collins Aerospace in a partnership with HAV and the University of Nottingham. Flight testing and qualification of the engine is expected to take place in 2023 with a hybrid-electric Airlander by 2025 and an all-electric zero-emission by 2030.

The plan is to have two forward fuel-supplied engines replaced by 2025 and the two rear ones by 2030. Collins is developing the electric engines at its Electronic Controls and Motor Systems facilities in Solihull, near Birmingham Airport (BHX), where the company has invested $18m to increase its electronics and motor development capabilities.

Airlander 10 Specs

Maximum autonomy: five days airborne – Max payload: ten tons – Max range: 4000nm (7400km) – Max altitude: 20000ft (Fl200) – Max takeoff weight: 33285kg (73381lbs) – Cruise speed ; 148km/h (92mph) – CO² emissions reduction: 75% with thermal engines configuration, 90% with hybrid-electric configuration, 100% when full electric – Dimensions: 91mt (299fft) long, 34mt (111ft) large, 26mt (85ft) high – Hull volume : 38000cumt (1340000cuft).

Article sourced from HAV News and Media Library

Featured image: HAV Airlander 10 overflying Hong Kong. Image: HAV Media Library