Just last month, Hybrid Air Vehicles announced a planned production version of its prototype Airlander 10 airship,media reported. At the time, the company mentioned an optional power propulsion system, and more details about the system have now been released. If you’re not familiar with Airlander 10, here’s a brief introduction:
It is currently the world’s largest aircraft, 92 meters long, powered by four 325-horsepower turbo diesel engines, which, like conventional fixed-wing aircraft, take off with aerodynamic lift and keep it in the air.
What’s more, it can carry payloads of up to 10,000 kilograms, can take crew members in the air for five days, and does not require a specially built runway.
It is also understood that the new electric propulsion system will be a hybrid – the rear dual diesel engine will remain in place, the front dual engine will be replaced by a 500 kW electric motor. The operator can run only two electric engines for eco-friendly pure electric flight, or start all engines simultaneously for faster hybrids.
Among them, the pure electric mode should have a cruising speed of 50 knots and a maximum range of 350 km, while the hybrid mode can increase the range and speed at the same time – the latter can be up to 70 knots.
Air Hybrid Vehicles points out that the Airlander 10 interactive farm will be able to transport 90 passengers from Liverpool to Newscal in two hours (about 200km away), a process that will produce 90 per cent less emissions and less noise than conventional technology.
The plane, known as the Flying Ass, is understood to be ready to be delivered to customers by 2025.