“Royalty and dignitaries, brandy and cigars. Gray-giant lady of the skies, you hold them in your arms … ” – Bruce Dickinson.
It’s not every day GNN starts a story with a quote from an Iron Maiden song, but this line perfectly describes a development that could revolutionize short-haul flights by heralding the return of helium-filled airships to the skies of Europe.
Hybrid air vehicles (HAV) are 4 years away from their first planned commercial flight of the Airlander10, a hybrid-electric airship that produces 75% less emissions per mile traveled than a passenger jet.
Designed for short trips on frequent business trips such as Oslo to Stockholm or Liverpool to Belfast, it offers the Greta Thunbergs of the world the opportunity to return to the comfort of air travel.
Rigid airships never became the dream that so many scientists, inventors, and fiction writers imagined they would be in the early 1900s. The parallel development of fixed-wing aircraft and eventually jet flight, along with the immolation of the Hindenburg, meant that beyond the Goodyear Blimp over football stadiums, the blimp’s dream never came true.
But the Airlander10 offers a lot of what an airliner can’t, which means those dreams have a real chance of coming true. With pressure-free cockpits made possible by lower flight altitudes, the ride is quiet, and with floor-to-ceiling windows, all passengers, whether in the window or in the aisle, have unobstructed views of the world. below and beyond.
A gentle giant
According to HAV, a plane from Seattle to Vancouver equates to 55kg of CO2 per passenger, while an Airlander10 reduces that number to about 4.12kg – less even than train travel.
Additionally, thanks to the aircraft’s vertical take-off and landing capabilities, there is a significant long-term reduction in the cost of CO2 due to aircraft / train infrastructure requirements (paving runways or laying railways is not environmentally friendly to any extent ).
But it is the concept art of cabin arrangements That really brings the old European idea of airship travel to life, with plush couches, tables, bars, workstations, and food service.
HAV told GNN that they expect ticket prices to fit within the number range of other modes of transportation such as planes, trains and ferries.
The company’s short-term goals are to meet the legal requirements for the Airlander10 and to run its UK factory to produce 12 aircraft per year while working on the fully electric motor kits that would bring the airship to zero emissions, as well as in its Airlander50, designed for the transport of air cargo.
The combination of vertical takeoff / landing, floor-to-ceiling windows, and quiet travel means HAV is looking for present your aircraft for adventure travel in places like the Arctic, in Africa, where hot air balloon rides are already common, and among archipelagos.
Doing something useful
Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden and captain of the band’s Boeing 757 staff, has invested $ 380,000 in the company. This may not be a surprise. The band is famous for both long songs and songs about flying, and their longest song:Empire of cloudsThese are aircraft.
GNN reported on the news in 2016 that Maiden’s frontman, whose knowledge of aviation history is exceptional for a man who, in addition to leading one of the world’s greatest rock bands, competes at Olympic levels in fencing and writes children’s books, had put so much faith in what was then just a project.
“I don’t expect to get my money back anytime soon, I just want to be a part of it,” Bruce told the New Yorker. “Being a rock person, I could get up my nose, or buy a million Rolls Royces and take them to swimming pools, or I could do something useful. There are very few times in your life when you are going to be a part of something great. “
(WATCH inside an Airlander cabin in the video below).
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