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Civilian Airships Watch 2017

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posted on May, 16 2017 @ 02:07 PM
There are a couple announcements. I suppose each could be their own thread. But I have an idea…


Hybrid Air Vehicles is the company that made Airlander 10 airship (given the entirely British nickname, “the flying bum” due the shape of the craft resembling a part of the human anatomy. I guess it also closely related to, “The flying nun,” too!).

On August 24, 2016, on its second test flight the “flying bum” crashed nose first into a field after a 100 minute flight. The cockpit was damaged and needed repairing. No crew was hurt but…

The flight deck's instrument panels, overhead console, and associated wiring had to be reinstalled.

(source below)

Which meant it had to be deflated, taken off, fixed, tested, reattached, then tested again. They also attached retractable “air pods” to help protect the cockpit in the event of another “hard landing.” The inflated Airlander 10 was still in a hanger when this was reported back in February, 2017. In April, HAV reported that they would resume test flights in May. They also announced that they created a “Mobile Moring Mast” to assist the ground crew when landing. They also said they put the crew through more training.

HAV said they had done a root cause analysis (RCA) but have not shared all the details. The reports have speculated the airship came in too fast from too high an altitude (i.e., pilot error) but without the RCA details there are still unknowns.

[On] May 11, 2017[,] Wednesday evening Airlander 10 completed its first flight since the giant dirigible crash-landed nine months ago. The airship took off at 5:28pm, puttered around for almost three hours, and successfully landed at 8:15pm. …

The new auxiliary landing system… worked perfectly.

HAV says that [the] successful flight recommences Airlander 10's three-phase flight test programme. For now, Airlander 10 isn't allowed to ascend beyond 4,000 feet or travel more than 15 miles from its hangar in Bedfordshire. As it progresses through the test programme it'll be allowed to travel farther and higher and stay airborne for longer. In theory, Airlander 10 can hang around for a few days. [Five days in most reports], May 11, 2017 – Airlander 10, world’s largest aircraft, takes to the skies

Cool beans!

But wait. There’s more.


posted on May, 16 2017 @ 02:08 PM
Update: Lockheed Martin Hybrid Airship – LMH1

Lockheed Martin is currently assembling the first 15 of its LMH-1 hybrid aircraft — so called because they generate lift with both a lighter-than-air helium envelope and aerodynamic surfaces — at a plant in California, with the earliest expected off the line in 2018 or 2019.

With vertical take-off and landing, the airship will be able to carry cargos up to roughly 47,000 pounds without requiring a runway. Moving at a top speed of 65 miles per hour, [Ron] Hyde [PRL Logistics CEO] said the craft is best thought of as “not a slow plane, but a fast boat.”

The hangar Hyde plans to build at PRL’s Kenai center is also in the conceptual stage. In a presentation to the Kenai City Council on April 19, he estimated its cost as $10 million…

“It depends who’s piled on to that number,” Hyde said. “If you take Lockheed Martin, maybe they want to have a simulator, or the ability to completely rebuild the entire engine, or maybe they want to do a lot of things locally rather than waiting for parts to come in from LA.

Hyde said putting the airship near a busy airport like Anchorage’s would be “the worst thing we could do.”

“We knew that putting it at any airport was not a good option, because it flies so slow,” Hyde said. “And the whole purpose of the ship is not to be restricted to a commercial airport.”, May 14, 2017 - Kenai airport commission hears further details of PRL airship.

So that is what’s up in the AK! It makes sense, now, about having a slow moving airship around 400 mph jets coming and going. Dang! Maybe they will come and land down at the port! The article mentions extending a line of the Alaska Railroad to the hangar. It also mentions using the LMH1 for emergency situations as well as oil companies. It is still all up in the air but it is cool to find out that Lockheed already has enough of an order to build 15 hybrid airships and PRL Logistics is serious about their commitment to Alaska.

Also glad to see the Airlander 10 up and flying around.

edit on 16-5-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: under constructon

posted on May, 16 2017 @ 02:09 PM
Some ATS threads on helium and airships last year alone:

Aircraft Projects, 2016: Lockheed’s airship gets the green light.

Pictures and video of Airlander10, LOL. But the story is Lockheed’s hybrid airship order from Straightline Aviation, for which Ron Hyde, quoted above, works.

Aircraft Projects, 2016: world's biggest airship crasch.

Minimalist thread with spelling mistake! I’ve tagged on a bunch of posts. There was another thread made on the crash but that did not have as many responses.

Science & Technology, 2016: Amazon Files Patent for Flying Warehouse .

Kind of self-explanatory.

Science & Technology, 2016 (mine): Huge helium discovery 'a life-saving find' .

This announcement is where Lockheed ties the knot, so to speak, on a source for their airships.

Aircraft Projects, 2016: Lockheed: No Roads, No Problem.

Hybrid airship promo video. Has a cool video of the automated skin-hole finders called “spiders” towards the end.


Those are from the last year. As I said, having one thread of these announcements keeps from having to track all these down. Some do deserve their own thread, I'm just suggesting a platform for the smaller announcements and smaller news items like nobody out there reads the Kenai newspaper for news on Lockheed, right?

So my idea is to create a “watch” thread on airship developments! Good idea??

As with other "watch" threads, the OP leaves the thread open to all (does not moderate the thread). I can answer some questions but there are others here on this forum who are far more knowledgeable!

Since this will take some time (airships flying around loose in the world), please feel free to tag on any other airship news to this thread. And of course comments, discussion, etc., are welcome!

edit on 16-5-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: finished constructon

posted on May, 16 2017 @ 02:50 PM
Great thread. I think I dream of a world with quiet airships milling about and replacing lorries. I wonder how much of that is a fantasy?
edit on 16/5/2017 by paraphi because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 16 2017 @ 03:14 PM
a reply to: paraphi

A dynastat is a hybrid airship with fixed wings and/or a lifting body and is typically intended for long-endurance flights. It requires forward flight to create the aerodynamic lift component.

Wikipedia - Hybrid Airship.

But the name also applies to designs like Lockheed's where the ship's shape contains an airfoil design to provide lift in addition to the blimp-like helium bladders.

There are currently 3 companies going through the paces to get hybrid airships back up. In addition to Lockheed Martin, Hybrid Air Vehicles, there is an Australian company making one called SkyLifter. I can't remember if there is another one that is also being drawn up or not.

They are on their way! It is just going to take a bit of time; a year or two, which is the reason for the thread--to keep tabs on developments.

ETA: The other company I was thinking of is Aeros which has been providing aerostats to the government but has a civilian one called Dragon Dream. I'm not sure what is up with that one
edit on 16-5-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: remembered the one I could not remember earlier

posted on May, 16 2017 @ 03:50 PM


Unlike other airships, the Aeroscraft is the only air vehicle designed with the patent-pending control of static heaviness system that controls the vehicle's buoyancy to be heavier-than-air during ground operations or lighter-than-air during flight, acting as a “flying submarine.” The control of static heaviness system internally ballasts the non-flammable helium into the aircraft’s helium pressure envelopes (HPEs). - Aeros homepage.

Went to their website. They are the ones that pump helium into the ship when taking off. When they land and/or unload they employ this system called COSH. Control of Static Heaviness (COSH), is their tech where they recompress helium into a tank and try to maintain level buoyancy without having to carry around ballast.

Like a "flying submarine"!! lol

Popular Mechanics article explaining COSH: This Is What's Inside an Airship.
edit on 16-5-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: beCOSH its cool!

posted on Jun, 15 2017 @ 02:02 PM

An airship fell from the sky and caught fire close to the US Open during the early stages of the first round at Erin Hills, Wisconsin.

Organisers said the aircraft was "unaffiliated" with the US Open or television coverage of the event.

Eye witnesses posted social media footage showing the blimp falling to the ground and the pilot using a parachute to escape., news, June 15, 2017 - US Open 2017: Blimp crashes near to course at Erin Hills.

This happened within the hour! They are treating the pilot for unspecified injuries. Glad he could exit with a parachute. Very glad the airship did not hit the crowds gathered to watch early round of golf.
edit on 15-6-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: missing negative word that changes the meaning

posted on Jun, 15 2017 @ 06:55 PM
Could have been much worse..

posted on Jun, 15 2017 @ 07:02 PM
a reply to: Blackfinger

There is thread up with vids: PenFed blimp bursts into flames and crashes near U.S. Open at Erin Hills!

Yeah, blimp could have hit the crowds. That looks like a low altitude jump so there is that. Lots worse!

posted on Jun, 20 2017 @ 03:03 PM
a reply to: Blackfinger

Turns out the original report was wrong. The pilot did *not* jump out but rode the whole thing all the way down. His injuries were actually burns sustained when it caught fire.

It was more of a hot air balloon shaped like a blimp. The Blimp That Crashed at the US Open? It Was Just a Fancy Hot Air Balloon.

Could have been A LOT worse!

posted on Jun, 20 2017 @ 07:41 PM
Hybrid Air Freighters signed a Letter of Intent with Lockheed at the Paris Airshow for 12 Hybrid Airships. The deal is worth $500M.

posted on Jun, 20 2017 @ 09:14 PM

This is awesome and I am very excited to see this technology finally start to gain some traction!

Nothing of my own to contribute for now, but I'm sure myself and a bunch of others will be watching this thread intently for any updates you guys come across!

posted on Jun, 23 2017 @ 06:20 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

Lockheed needs a customer so they can make additional hybrid airships. They already said they are going to ferry the Tanzania helium find from the refinery out to port using one. The drilling starts at the end of this year so it seems... uh... convenient to get a letter of intent (MOU would be better) done!

I really want one to come up here. I suppose I could not be lazy and go south to see it. If I do, oh, there will be pics!

a reply to: roguetechie

There are three in the pipes so it seemed like a good thing to keep an eye on! Plus there is some cool tech like the neutral buoyancy one.

edit on 23-6-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: grammar guerrilla

posted on Jun, 24 2017 @ 06:38 AM
Here's a recent milestone for the HAV Airlander... In fact it did another successful test flight just a couple of days ago.

The world's longest aircraft has successfully completed its fourth test flight, reaching the highest altitude it has attained so far. The Airlander 10 - a combination of a plane and an airship - took off at 18:15 BST on Tuesday near its base at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire. During the flight, which lasted about three hours, the 302ft (92m) long craft reached 3,500ft (1,067m). Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) said it was "a hugely successful flight".

Source BBC article

Here's the HAV website

posted on Jun, 27 2017 @ 02:46 PM
a reply to: paraphi

Dirigibles, or airships, were first designed for passengers as a kind of “flying Titanic.” They were meant to combine the speed and modernization of flight technology with the elegance and luxury of steamship travel. Although capacity was limited, engineers in the 1930s considered airships to be the future of passenger air travel. What these engineers did not fully consider was that the limited capacity was not the most immediate problem: the fact that these airships were full of flammable hydrogen gas made them– as Archer repeatedly points out– flying bombs.
Two companies on either side of the Atlantic are revisiting the concept of dirigibles, and are turning up the gas (helium, not hydrogen!) in airship engineering. Like most technologies, both projects began as collaborations with the military, but are proving to have very beneficial applications outside of defense.

Worldwide Aeros is an airship manufacturer based in California and has been developing a viable prototype since 2013. Dubbed the “Aeroscraft,” the blimp is designed to use less-flammable helium gas and ordinary air, and actually functions more like a submarine. Helium contained in balloons provides the lift. During takeoff, the craft releases air, and during landing, the craft takes in heavier air.

Ultra-light carbon fiber and aluminum give the Aeroscraft a rigid shape (not heavy steel and aluminum like past dirigibles).

Across the Atlantic, Hybrid Air Vehicles in the UK is busy perfecting their pilot project called the “Airlander”. Like the Aeroscraft, the Airlander uses helium gas for lift, but it’s design is radically different. As the company’s name suggests, the Airlander has a hybrid design that aims to combine the concept of a dirigible with features of both helicopters and a fixed wing airplanes. As a result, the Airlander can carry loads that are larger and heavier than conventional aircraft, but uses significantly less fuel. - Blimps are the Future of Freight Transport (Not Flying Bombs).

A nice overview of two companies airships. They got the Aeros a bit off. They actively pump the helium in and out from bladders not just "let air in" as stated. That creates a condition of "neutral buoyancy" which is important when unloading your cargo!

I like that design so any time I get to mention it I will!

Oh, and loved the Archer reference too!!

posted on Mar, 20 2018 @ 03:11 PM
Wow, I never thought that the goings would be so slow! I guess when creating an industry you can't just snap your fingers and be flying around in a hybrid airship the next day.

Case in point is Hybrid Air Vehicle's, Airlander 10. That was the one that crashed on landing in 2017 and started my interest in what was coming down the road with airships.

The [nine] new positions will be working on the design process which aims to get the Airlander 10 into commercial production.

A company spokesman said it will take all the "learning from our experience of designing, producing and flying the prototype aircraft and embed it in the detailed design of the aircraft that we will take to production".

Stephen McGlennan, chief executive officer of Hybrid Air Vehicles, said: "We're excited to be building our business and creating new jobs in Bedford.

"The design process for the first type certified Airlander 10 is ramping up as planned, and we need world class engineers and flight scientists to join the team.", news, March 15, 2018 - Airlander 10: Hybrid Air Vehicles creates Bedford jobs.

The prototype is done and now they are ramping up staff for the production model. That is pretty cool!

Unfortunately, they have no internship or on the job training to hire right now. You have to be an engineer with specific work experience. And relocate to England.

Once a production model is created, they plan on opening a plant that will churn out 10 per year.

Last I saw, Lockheed had LOI order for 10 airships. That launch is scheduled for 2019. And I hope to get a peak at the one bound for Kenai. Checking on the Tanzania helium find, looks like Solo Oil is lining up a vertical ownership still; I have not seen any news of even pilot holes being drilled.

posted on Jan, 16 2019 @ 05:22 PM
Has already been 2 years?? Where does it go?

The world’s largest aircraft is no more, at least temporarily. For years, the largest operational aircraft has been the Hybrid Air Vehicles’ (HAV) Airlander 10, a giant blimp-like contraption that can hold around 20 passengers and bares resemblance to a certain piece of human anatomy, some have said.

The company built a prototype vehicle to test the concept, but according to HAV, that prototype is being retired. That’s not the end for the concept, however, because the Airlander 10 is going to go into full production for a new prototype that will eventually serve commercial purposes.

HAV is able to do this now that it has secured permission from the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority to fly passengers in its Airlanders., Jan. 14, 2019 - The Giant Airlander 10 Airship to Welcome Commercial Passengers.

The prototype has been retired and they are gearing up for a full production model. And that means commercial passengers.

to "The Flying Bum" and "Long live the Bum!" I guess!

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