The Airlander 10 hybrid aircraft has had two two significant enhancements made to it ahead of its imminent hangar exit and resumption of its flight test programme.
The aircraft maker Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAL) says an auxiliary landing system (ALS) has been added, which allows the aircraft to land safely at a greater range of landing angles. This is a pilot-deployable two airbag landing system, which the pilot can deploy as an extra cushion to land on.
Another major accomplishment is the commissioning of the mobile mooring mast (MMM). The MMM is an integrated tracked vehicle and mooring mast, which makes it much easier to control and ‘push back’ the Airlander when manoeuvering it around the airfield.
Both of these pieces of equipment are new to Airlander, and have been developed as a direct result of learnings the team have established since the flight tests last August. They will make the Airlander easier to manoeuvre and safer to land.
HAV chief executive officer, Steve McGlennan says: “Both of these enhancements are great engineering innovations, and show the creativity and ingenuity of the team working on Airlander to great effect. We look forward to using them for real very soon.”
HAV expects to take the Airlander out of the Hangar during April and expects it to be flying again soon after that, but the focus remains on a safe early flight, and it will not announce a next flight date in advance.
The company is in the final stages of an £8 million ($9.9 million) equity financing raise from its existing shareholders, which it says is well over half way to completion for the 92 metre long airship.
Airlander 10 is designed to stay airborne for up to five days at a time to fulfil a wide range of roles, including cargo carrying.