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skridlov
9th Feb 2016, 10:47
Back in the 80s, when I had an electronics business, I built and supplied some equipment to "Airship Industries". At the time PR from this company was trumpeting their airship design (new & improved) as finally on the brink of revolutionising air transport. Blink of the eye - exit Airship Industries.

This appears in today's Independent:
Airlander 10: 92m-long aircraft to fly in UK skies for first time | Home News | News | The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/92m-long-aircraft-to-fly-in-uk-skies-for-the-first-time-a6862546.html)

I'm keen to hear the opinions of interested parties here at the parish pump.

zetec2
9th Feb 2016, 10:58
How strange, I used to supply them in the late 80's with control cable 7x19 in various diameters in 100 meter rolls, perks were getting rides with them at Cardington, arrived one morning with cables also expecting a ride in the Airship 600 - big shed doors closed, Airship Industries gone - defunct, such was life,
how many times have they risen from the ashes since then to start again, is it just pie in the sky that they will ever become an alternative craft company with a future ?. PH.

netstruggler
9th Feb 2016, 11:48
For a claimed cross between a helicopter and an aeroplane, it doesn't appear to have any of the properties of either. It looks exactly like a bog-standard dirigible.

I too worked on the Airship in the 1980s - trying to make the Fibre-Optic Fly-by-Wire system reliable. The technology was relatively new, and fragile fibre and a flexible airframe was not a good combination.

Ian W
9th Feb 2016, 12:46
They will need to demonstrate that their dirigible is capable of withstanding turbulence and Cb. On the face of it the lifting body design will make it more prone to problems from vertical shear when compared to the normal dirigible designs.

John Farley
9th Feb 2016, 13:03
It looks exactly like a bog-standard dirigible.


Look again. This vehicle can land.

Genghis the Engineer
9th Feb 2016, 14:09
I've been watching the project for a while, know a few people inside the company, and have studied a bit of airship design and flight testing over the years.

On the whole, I think that it might just succeed.

Not because it's especially new and exciting - although the more aggressive use of aerodynamic (as opposed to hydrostatic) lift is mildly innovative, and the hull structure is quite clever. Not because it has a very good team - I think that it probably does in many areas, but so have previous projects.


No, I think it might succeed because they've got the mission right. They're not trying to lift heavy cargo payloads - which is a daft thing to do with lighter-than-air. Not because it'll carry fare-paying passengers reliably - it won't.

They're designing it as a slow, long-loiter, electronic payload platform. That in my opinion is a viable use of an airship: not unlike the WW1 and WW2 use of airships for hunting submarines. Modern microelectronics make it more possible than ever before.

Historical precedent says that it has a good chance of failing. But, so far as I can see, the thing does actually have a very good chance of succeeding, because they're designing and marketing it for a viable mission that it can deliver on.

On the whole, I think that it's got as good a chance of success as any airshop project ever has, and I really hope that they do.

G

Blade Master
9th Feb 2016, 14:14
This was the airship canceled by the USA and sold back to England for less than .1% of it's original reported cost, as in one tenth of one percent. Naturally, batteries were not included. Also know as Northrop Grumman HAV 304 Airlander or Hybrid Air Vehicles HAV-3. There are several videos of it in flight online.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Air_Vehicles_HAV-3

Wirbelsturm
9th Feb 2016, 14:18
On the whole, I think that it's got as good a chance of success as any airship project ever has, and I really hope that they do.

Given that millions of dollars of the development costs were absorbed by the US military back in 2010 and the vehicle was 'retained' by the current owners for a 'small sum' they have the resources available now to take it forward.

U.S. Army Orders Huge Airship to Aid Combat Missions (http://www.space.com/8615-army-orders-huge-airship-aid-combat-missions.html)

I went to have a look at it in it's hangar a year or so ago, a very enthusiastic team offering a vehicle for long term station keeping.

Tourist
9th Feb 2016, 14:37
On the whole, I think that it's got as good a chance of success as any airshop project ever has, and I really hope that they do.

G

It does also have the advantage over previous designs that materials and drive technologies have kept advancing.

The solar films that coat the various high altitude long endurance drones will have obvious uses for such an airship, and the ever reducing weight/power requirements of avionics and sneaky tech will obviously help.

glad rag
9th Feb 2016, 14:47
It does also have the advantage over previous designs that materials and drive technologies have kept advancing.

The solar films that coat the various high altitude long endurance drones will have obvious uses for such an airship, and the ever reducing weight/power requirements of avionics and sneaky tech will obviously help.
Indeed just look at how Musk has improved solar cells...

skridlov
9th Feb 2016, 15:02
Given that millions of dollars of the development costs were absorbed by the US military back in 2010 and the vehicle was 'retained' by the current owners for a 'small sum' they have the resources available now to take it forward.

U.S. Army Orders Huge Airship to Aid Combat Missions (http://www.space.com/8615-army-orders-huge-airship-aid-combat-missions.html)

I went to have a look at it in it's hangar a year or so ago, a very enthusiastic team offering a vehicle for long term station keeping.

Very big, very slow, target for military applications isn't it? I guess that depends on the operational ceiling of Manpads etc in any given theatre.
However the other observations here about the increasing efficiency of solar energy capture etc do make a lot of sense. The cynic in me recalls, though not in detail, similar enthusiasm about the obvious benefits of airships every time they re-emerge from hibernation.
Which also reminds me, whatever happened to the Optica?

Wirbelsturm
9th Feb 2016, 15:10
Very big, very slow, target for military applications isn't it? I guess that depends on the operational ceiling of Manpads etc in any given theatre.

AFAIK it was intended for second line support or high altitude offset battlefield comms/intel link. Keep it in friendly neighboring airspace with a synthetic aperture array on the side.

Irrelevant really as it never survived the spending review.

Genghis the Engineer
9th Feb 2016, 15:37
Which also reminds me, whatever happened to the Optica?

Ask a test pilot who has flown it over a beer sometime. I'll take a pint of mild.

G

n5296s
9th Feb 2016, 15:38
Seems to me it's a very niche-y mission (even more so than other non-airliner aircraft). Basically it works if you want to spend a long time up there without actually going anywhere. For sure such missions exist, just not many.

The previous "revolutionizing air transport" effort was German, and spent a couple of years down the road here at Moffett. The racket it made flying over our house all the time (3 x IO540s at 1500 feet, going veeeeery sloooowly) made me investigate it - actually I had a brief chat with the captain (a lady, and a Brit at that) courtesy of Palo Alto tower.

Bottom line is it cruised at 37 knots. It had about the same payload and fuel consumption per hour as a Trislander. Awful the latter may be, but it flies at about 100 knots, so fuel/passenger-mile is about three times better.

For the latest one, they talk about 48 passengers. REALLY??? The German one, which was seriously huge, carried 10, in a tiny underslung cabin.

Tourist
9th Feb 2016, 15:45
Very big, very slow, target for military applications isn't it? I guess that depends on the operational ceiling of Manpads etc in any given theatre.


On the subject of manpads there are two points.

1. Can a manpad even find it? It's not exactly a big heat producer, and if in electric drive practically none.
2. Not sure that a manpad is really optimised to take down this sort of target. Big balloons full of helium are surprisingly good at taking damage from teeny tiny warheads

Tourist
9th Feb 2016, 16:00
Seems to me it's a very niche-y mission (even more so than other non-airliner aircraft). Basically it works if you want to spend a long time up there without actually going anywhere. For sure such missions exist, just not many.

You have no idea what the military does, do you.:rolleyes:
If you had spent a little while in Iraq or Afghanistan over the last 15 years, you would notice that this is almost the only thing that the military does!



Bottom line is it cruised at 37 knots. It had about the same payload and fuel consumption per hour as a Trislander. Awful the latter may be, but it flies at about 100 knots, so fuel/passenger-mile is about three times better.
For the latest one, they talk about 48 passengers. REALLY??? The German one, which was seriously huge, carried 10, in a tiny underslung cabin.

That one may have been a bit [email protected], but google the old German zepellins and the Hindenburg....

Wageslave
9th Feb 2016, 16:10
I am acquainted with a development engineer on tis project who worked all through the old Airship Industries days too. This isn't another Airship Industries revival, it is an entirely new product (imported from USA) and a new company altogether though inevitably many of the AI people are there.
The project is hardly new, it's been going at Cardington for at least 3 years though only now coming to inflation and flight. The engineer I know is very enthusiastic about it and reckons it has a far better chance of being a success that AI, who if you recall made a number of ships before their demise, but this thing has features like self mooring (a sort of air cushion like a hovercraft) that set it apart.
We'll see, but it looks clever enough to succeed.

cwatters
9th Feb 2016, 16:12
I flew in a small airship at Cardington some years back. It needed quite a large ground crew to stop it moving about. As I recall they used teams of Air Cadets or Scouts? Boarding passengers took awhile because it was one on, one off, one on, one off... to keep the weight reasonably stable.

It was nice to take a slow pleasure flight around the countryside but I'm not sure about application beyond that. Perhaps as a replacement for sea freight?

Tourist
9th Feb 2016, 16:21
I flew in a small airship at Cardington some years back. It needed quite a large ground crew to stop it moving about. As I recall they used teams of Air Cadets or Scouts? Boarding passengers took awhile because it was one on, one off, one on, one off... to keep the weight reasonably stable.

It was nice to take a slow pleasure flight around the countryside but I'm not sure about application beyond that. Perhaps as a replacement for sea freight?

As mentioned in the post above yours, the ground handling issue is one of their innovations.

A little thought will show a huge number of military ISR and maybe Strike applications.

All you have to do is think through each military aircraft type and then think whether enormous loiter at slow speed would be useful or not.

Example.

Is it better to orbit a B1B over a point in the desert at a squillion $/hr waiting for a CAS mission, or have a balloon loiter there for three weeks carrying Brimstone?

Is it better to have a Rivetjoint/Shadow/Reaper/insert other sneaky plane of choice loiter in an area sucking up wiggly amps for 5/10/20 hrs or a balloon for three weeks?

n5296s
9th Feb 2016, 16:29
You have no idea what the military does, do you.
I think I have a pretty decent rough idea. So if all they do is loiter, remind me why they're spending about $1T on the F35???

The US military has evidently already rejected the idea, presumably because they prefer to spend their money on things that go faster (e.g. the said F35).

Loitering over enemy territory in something that may even be bigger than a barn strikes me as a seriously undesirable idea. It may be stealthy, but during daylight you'd have to be half blind not to see it with the naked eye. And given that it presumably needs to transmit to be useful, it can't really be stealthy anyway (unless, I suppose, it send everything upwards to satellites).

Autonomous drones strike me as a much safer way for that particular mission.

Airships are one of those ideas whose success is always just around the corner. They had a brief window in the 1930s, until the Hindenburg put paid to it, and then along came WWII to make large aeroplanes a practical reality.

Tourist
9th Feb 2016, 16:49
I think I have a pretty decent rough idea.


Your answer would suggest not.

As a man who has spent more hours than I care to remember orbiting above patches of desert day after day, trust me when I say that Airlander, if it works, has a hugely successful future ahead in military service.


Normal military aircraft are optimised for roles against countries that have some form of capability to fight back and require travel to get there. They do it well.
Against countries/people like the ones we have been fighting recently, and some we are still fighting today, they are a staggeringly expensive way of fighting a war. I'm not saying we don't still need the capability because they are absolutely critical, but offloading the hour intensive orbiting roles is hugely beneficial.
Reaper/Pred is an example of the need. They are in no way survivable against even an elementary air threat, but against ISIS etc they are perfect due to their endurance despite their slow speed.

PersonFromPorlock
9th Feb 2016, 17:14
FWIW, I seem to recall an article in a popular technology magazine sometime back in the '60s about a similar tri-hulled dirigible being built in New Jersey(?), whose stated purpose was to distribute Bibles in Africa! Later, the authorities stepped in and charged the promoters with fraud. :p

Wirbelsturm
9th Feb 2016, 17:22
presumably because they prefer to spend their money on things that go faster

Or perhaps it's because the US military has historically pursued multiple parallel lines of development and it was the budget constraints that cut the project rather than it's viability.

JSTARs was well advanced but also costs far more to operate, a helicopter is also expensive for middleman ops and less endurance, AWACS has been going for years now (since I was in the sandpit!) and is a costly HVU.

This design is cheap (comparatively), scalable, can be autonomous and can loiter for a long period when needed. Perhaps the US military couldn't run the full development program but I wish the current owners well.

Mechta
9th Feb 2016, 17:22
I had the opportunity to talk to Roger Munk before his untimely death. He said that he had attended a lecture in the late 1960s or early 1970s, by a First World War 'blimp' pilot, and had chatted to him afterwards. The blimp pilot had written on a napkin the ten issues which he believed would need to be overcome before airships became a practical proposition. Roger Munk then set about tackling each of these issues in his successive designs.

What the Airlander does which previous designs did not, is to generate a significant amount of lift from firstly, vectored thrust, and secondly, once airborne,
the shape of the envelope (hence the double bubble shape). This overcomes the loading/unloading issues cwatters describes, and allows a much smaller vehicle for the same payload.

As flown in the USA, the engines used were well below the power of the original spec. and only allowed a limited degree of thrust vectoring. With the right engines, which will allow Airlander to realize its full potential, I think they will be onto a winner.

Vinnie Boombatz
9th Feb 2016, 18:13
Story from last May, with fair amount of detail and photos:

Hybrid Hopes: An Inside Look At The Airlander 10 Airship | Production-Ready Solutions for Aerospace content from Aviation Week (http://aviationweek.com/greene-tweed/hybrid-hopes-inside-look-airlander-10-airship)

Company site:

Hybrid Air Vehicles - Home (http://www.hybridairvehicles.com/)

Chronus
9th Feb 2016, 18:49
By whatever name it goes, when all said and done it is a helium balloon by any other name. That which keeps it aloft is helium and the curious thing about helium is we are told we are running out of it. Here is a link to the bit about running out of it:

https://www.quora.com/Are-we-really-running-out-of-helium

Do these chaps at Hybrid know something that these other folk, who fear we are running out of the stuff, don`t know about so that they can blow their balloon up with 1.34 m cu.ft. of some kind of stuff to get it off the ground.

TWT
9th Feb 2016, 19:33
Commercial quantities of helium are extracted by fractional distillation from natural gas.There's a large plant in Qatar,for example.

http://www.rasgas.com/Operations/RasLaffanHeliumProject.html

enola-gay
9th Feb 2016, 19:41
Chronus

That article says "Once it is released into the atmosphere it [helium] becomes uneconomical to recapture it". That is simply not true.

Helium is recovered from the atmosphere in industrial quantities as a by-product of cryogenic air separation plants whose main purpose is to produce gaseous or liquefied oxygen and nitrogen.

It is a high value by-product and far from unecomical. I worked with BOC in the 60s, and there was always a mini plant at each basic oxygen process steelworks to extract argon, helium, neon, xenon and krypton from the atmosphere. The atmospheric carbon dioxide though, was discharged as waste.

Wageslave
10th Feb 2016, 09:44
Do these chaps at Hybrid know something that these other folk, who fear we are running out of the stuff, don`t know about so that they can blow their balloon up with 1.34 m cu.ft. of some kind of stuff to get it off the ground.

There is a considerable difference between "running out" and "run out".
One means there is none left at all, the other means there is merely less than we might wish for.
Sometimes one may think that an understanding of proportion is "running out" on this forum.

Landroger
10th Feb 2016, 11:07
By whatever name it goes, when all said and done it is a helium balloon by any other name. That which keeps it aloft is helium and the curious thing about helium is we are told we are running out of it. Here is a link to the bit about running out of it:

https://www.quora.com/Are-we-really-...-out-of-helium

Do these chaps at Hybrid know something that these other folk, who fear we are running out of the stuff, don`t know about so that they can blow their balloon up with 1.34 m cu.ft. of some kind of stuff to get it off the ground.

I can't do the sums quickly (or at all to be honest!) but Chronus is right - we are 'running out' of Helium, although not overnight, so to speak.

1.4 million cu/ft of Helium is a lot, but not if you liquify it and that is where the serious use of Helium is; LHe for MRI Scanners. Magnetic Resonance Imagers. When I first started working on them in the early nineties, a 500 litre LHe transfill was required about twice or three times a year, for each 1.5 Tesla magnet. There were not so many of them then, but there are loads of them now and almost every DGH has one (or more!).

Through development, Helium losses have been reduced dramatically to roughly one 500 litre transfill every couple of years, but the costs are roughly the same as they were. The last time I heard a price for it, given that we used tens of thousands of Litres per year, was about 5.50/litre delivered. For small quantities I have heard prices of 100/lt. The thing about liquid Helium is; it boils locally at minus silly degrees and changes phase into seven hundred times its volume. In other words, one litre of liquid Helium becomes 700 lt of gaseous helium.

Massive efforts are being made to reduce the overall liquid content of MRI magnets - this cannot be done retrospectively - from up to 2000 lt to less than 200 lt. Research is also being done into 'High Temperature Superconductors', which would be better, but it is rather flying in the face of the laws of physics at the moment. They have made materials that will superconduct at say, liquid Nitrogen temperatures, but it cannot yet be formed into any material that could be wound into a solenoid.

Several times in the last few years - I have been retired since July - there have been severe shortages of LHe, such that we had to wait several weeks for individual tankers to arrive from Morocco. As for 'making Helium' out of the atmosphere, we were always told that once He gets out, it goes straight up, does not pass go and collects almost nowhere and thus is very, very difficult to recover. The source of He is from Natural Gas and Oil deposits, it is or was, a by product. In the 1930's the US oil industry had to put silencers on the reservoir helium vents, there was so much coming out and being vented to atmosphere.

The plant that supplied us had 'a gas bag' into which each and every container, be it cylinder of gas or dewar of liquids, was vented when they were 'empty'. This 'dirty gas' was reliquified at the plant and reused, but they couldn't (and don't anywhere) distill it out of the air, because its already at the very top of the atmosphere.

Sorry to get technical.

Landroger

Tourist
10th Feb 2016, 11:29
https://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2010/01/us-sale-of-helium-criticised.html

The Feds Created a Helium Problem That's Screwing Science | WIRED (http://www.wired.com/2015/07/feds-created-helium-problem-thats-screwing-science/)

16024
10th Feb 2016, 11:34
I was thinking the same thing about helium being a finite resource, and I am suitably impressed by the knowledge provided by the above posters.
Hydrogen used to be the buoyancy gas of choice, and it is relatively simple to make, but the flammability issues, of course are too much of a problem.
I do wonder, though, if some kind of Hydrogen/Helium hybrid could be made to work. There must be a safe dilution at some point.
I cant be the first person to suggest this, so I'm sure somebody can put the idea straight.

Tourist
10th Feb 2016, 13:04
Hydrogen used to be the buoyancy gas of choice, and it is relatively simple to make, but the flammability issues, of course are too much of a problem.


Why should flammability be a problem?
After all, our current methods of flying around the sky also have a flammability issue.....

FlightlessParrot
10th Feb 2016, 14:24
Why should flammability be a problem?

Indeed. How many of the airship losses were caused by the hydrogen catching fire? I'm no expert on airships, but I can only think of the Hindenberg--the others being weather related. But there were the shootdowns, which is relevant for military use: but even then, I get the impression that a big bag of hydrogen was surprisingly hard to ignite with WW I weapons.

16024
10th Feb 2016, 14:25
After all, our current methods of flying around the sky also have a flammability issue.....

Well, it's kind of relative. Sure Jet fuel will burn under the right (or wrong..) circumstances, else we wouldn't get off the ground. But you can put your ciggie out in the stuff.

Hydrogen, on the other hand. Well, Hindenburg.

16024
10th Feb 2016, 14:41
My post crossed with that of FP.

Hindenburg may be one of the few where fire was the sole cause, but there were dozens involving fire resulting from some other cause.
I realise fire in a "conventional" aircraft is potentially disastrous, but it's a different ball game with a bag of explosive gas.
That's why they stopped using it.

Tourist
10th Feb 2016, 14:58
I realise fire in a "conventional" aircraft is potentially disastrous, but it's a different ball game with a bag of explosive gas.
That's why they stopped using it.

Hmm, not really.
Google the problems with the Hindenburg. Heavier than air craft that catch fire have a similar problem to Hydrogen filled balloons.

It should not be difficult to google normal aircraft that have been lost to fire.

Aviation fuel is quite good at burning...
I can think of one very well known aircraft that burnt all too well.:(

rse
10th Feb 2016, 17:21
Yes, this is a bit revolutionary. Yeah, yeah, they said that about smartphones and Skype and the Internet.

Here we go again? Well, we need to give it a chance. Sure, it comes off the back of Airship Industries that put in a lot of R&D but didn't get visibly very far. They put in a lot of R&D because the technologies didn't exist 10 years ago to solve Munk's beermat list of issues: high strength skin, vectored thrust etc. This is only just possible now so we're right on the cusp.

It's not another white elephant airship remember: it's got a curved wing profile, vectored thrust, low docking point so it doesn't need a huge mast and landing gear that can blow in and out. It's also very compartmentalised and filled to very low pressure so you can hole it significantly and neither will it explode or deflate much.

The technology was destructively tested by the US Army who wouldn't have invested so much in it if it didn't have potential. Whilst Bruce could afford to lose his quarter mil, it's also been awarded a lot of green and regional funding that would only have gone to a worthy project.

Yes, you will need to get around the history of the word 'airship'. By all means give it a fair critique, but recall Concorde had plenty of doubters.

Yes, you will actually need to go to Cardington on the 'hard hat' hangar tour and ask the staff there as I did. Just join the club for life membership of 25 and sign up for a tour, they run them monthly and you get to ask what you like for 90 minutes. No question is off limits & nowhere else can you get up close to something this ambitious. They have a big, enthusiastic and capable team from all sorts of backgrounds who have done their sums.

True British innovation & I for one will be there when they roll it out in the spring.

PDR1
10th Feb 2016, 17:28
Hindenberg didn't crash due to a fire in the hydrogen. Hindenberg crashed due to a fire in the fabric covering, which was itself caused by a combination of poor electrical bonding or an access panel and the choice of red-oxide primer and powdered aluminium top coat in the nitro-cellulose dopes used on the fabric.

Sure, the hydrogen burned in the crash, but burning hydrogen didn't hurt anyone; the few of the casualties who got burned were actually caught in the fires from the ruptured engine fuel tanks.

You can see this in the film of the accident - the hydrogen flames have a distinctive colour and are all ABOVE the structure, whilst liquid fuel flames are much yellower, and fall down from the structure. You can also see moulten iron being spat from the burning fabric as the aluminium dust, iron oxide powder and nitrocellulose dope combined to create a classical thermite reaction.

The hydrogen burned in the crash, but it didn't cause it any more than the fireball of burning fuel that accompanies most tent-pegged aircraft was necessarily the cause of the tent-pegging.

For reference - the RAF operated a number of barrage balloons as part of the paratroop training process from the 1940s up until (IIRC) 1995. I vaguely recal they were based at RAF Hullavingdon (then a satellite field for RAF Lynham). These balloons were always hydrogen-filled because helium (a) gave less lift and payload, and (b) was simply unaffordable. They simply recognised the risks of using hydrogen and developed operating procedures to mitigate them. I don't *think* they ever had a hydrogen accident, but I could be wrong on that.

PDR

Mechta
10th Feb 2016, 18:24
For reference - the RAF operated a number of barrage balloons as part of the paratroop training process from the 1940s up until (IIRC) 1995. I vaguely recal they were based at RAF Hullavingdon (then a satellite field for RAF Lynham). These balloons were always hydrogen-filled because helium (a) gave less lift and payload, and (b) was simply unaffordable. They simply recognised the risks of using hydrogen and developed operating procedures to mitigate them. I don't *think* they ever had a hydrogen accident, but I could be wrong on that.

One reason the kite balloons used hydrogen, was that they were only inflated when needed; thus avoiding the need for expensive hangarage*. The technology used to ensure safe operation had been learned and passed on from when the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough was the Kite and Balloon Factory. Mechta Senior worked for the MOD(PE) auditing the various suppliers for the balloon equipment. A problem in later years was the non-static hemp rope of the right gradewas becoming unobtainable, as growing it was banned in the UK as it was considered a drug, whilst other parts of the EU received grants to grow it!

*Kite balloons for human parachuting were taken and inflated where needed. Some used for parachute testing were kept inflated at Cardington in the Airship hangars.

16024, I did ask the people at Hybrid Air Vehicles about using a non-flammable mix of hydrogen and helium. The view was that the hydrogen would migrate to the top of the envelope creating a more dangerous environment there. I also asked about an inner envelope full of hydrogen surrounded by the helium outer envelope. The problem here is that all the cabin/payload suspension cables would have to pass through it, creating sealing issues and extra weight, thus negating the benefits.

Chronus
10th Feb 2016, 19:03
Quote from RSE post no 38:

"True British innovation & I for one will be there when they roll it out in the spring."

Well is it really True British innovation ?

Here is an extract from the Chief Exec`s Report on the Financial Results of Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited for year ended 30 November 2014 .

HAV`s 2014 financial year commenced with the delivery of the disassembled prototype Airlander 10 to its newly rented hangar 1, Cardington Airfield, Bedford. Securing the prototype Airlander 10 from the US government was a major success for the business...

Am wondering where the British innovation part comes from. Did the Brits put it together in the US then had a change of heart and shipped it over to Blighty.

Those interested in what lies behind the whole project, here is the link to the Financial Reports.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06270723/filing-history

Mechta
10th Feb 2016, 19:18
Northrop Grumman (NG) won the LEM-V contract in 2010, they had already asked Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) to design the airframe, engine installation and propulsors, whilst NG did the mission payload, ground control station and overall project management.

From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Air_Vehicles_HAV-3:

Northrop Grumman's subcontractors included:


Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Air_Vehicles) in Cranfield, UK (HAV304 platform)
Warwick Mills in New Ipswich, USA (Fabrics engineering)
ILC Dover (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILC_Dover) in Kent County, USA (Airship manufacturer and designer)
Textron subsidiary AAI Corp. in Hunt Valley, USA (Makes the US Army’s OneSystem UAV/surveillance aircraft control & information distribution stations); and
SAIC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leidos) in McLean, USA.

The envelope was made by an American manufacturer to HAV's design, whilst the final assembly was done in the USA because the customer was there and it didn't make sense for the bits to be going backwards and forwards across the Atlantic.

rse
10th Feb 2016, 19:37
Okay, you say it's not British because it was bought back from the US Army.

Here's my evidence:

Yes, because we gave them the prototype in the first place, specifically bringing the airship expertise in the partnership with Grumman. The US wanted our product, I didn't see our Army offering up the opportunity or budget!

HAV were a little known outsider who won the contract because they were the best. Along came the fiscal cliff and we bought it back for a song including all data and rights because it was our product.

Munk was British, it was his concept. Barnes Wallis before him was British, he designed the R100 and proposed the beermat list of challenges. Airship Industries was British which became HAV, who are based in Cardington. And have built an 'airship' which is mostly British made, excepting a skin which comes from the US due to their expertise in impermeable membranes with NASA spacesuits.

We predominantly make components for other nation's firms (A380 wings anyone?) but not this time. The chief test pilot is a Brit, as are the team. Oh, and it's registered G-PHRG...not N7077A!

I rest my case.

Herod
10th Feb 2016, 19:51
Presumably, with these newer impermeable membranes, they will only have to fill it once, with the occasional top-up. Unlike, say, the R34, which on arrival in America needed 50,000 cubic feet of hydrogen.

Genghis the Engineer
10th Feb 2016, 21:47
Presumably, with these newer impermeable membranes, they will only have to fill it once, with the occasional top-up. Unlike, say, the R34, which on arrival in America needed 50,000 cubic feet of hydrogen.

IIRC, the R33 class were around 2 million cubic feet, and the later R101 was losing around 50,000 cubic feet per day.

I don't know if your figure is correct but, if anything, that sounds very low.

G

500 above
11th Feb 2016, 07:45
All airships loose helium. It's just to what extent. It's not uncommon to have to 'pump and dump' either, in order to increase the purity. Fresh in, old out.

I know one of the investors and several on the 'shop floor' of this project. I really cannot see it working though, as much as I'd love to as an ex airship pilot.

212man
11th Feb 2016, 08:08
HAV were presenting to us (an Oil company) over 10 years ago, and very much British. Their concept was moving heavy equipment over hostile terrain, as I recall (Arctic etc).

A Squared
11th Feb 2016, 15:14
FWIW, I seem to recall an article in a popular technology magazine sometime back in the '60s about a similar tri-hulled dirigible being built in New Jersey(?), whose stated purpose was to distribute Bibles in Africa! Later, the authorities stepped in and charged the promoters with fraud. :p

You may be thinking of the Aereon. That was a series of hybrid airships built in New Jersey. The author John Mcphee (Coming into the Country) wrote a book about the effort titled "The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed" It's been so long since I read it, that I don't recall whether there was a tie in to missionary work.

Chronus
11th Feb 2016, 18:36
Okay, you say it's not British because it was bought back from the US Army.

Here's my evidence:

Yes, because we gave them the prototype in the first place, specifically bringing the airship expertise in the partnership with Grumman. The US wanted our product, I didn't see our Army offering up the opportunity or budget!

HAV were a little known outsider who won the contract because they were the best. Along came the fiscal cliff and we bought it back for a song including all data and rights because it was our product.

Munk was British, it was his concept. Barnes Wallis before him was British, he designed the R100 and proposed the beermat list of challenges. Airship Industries was British which became HAV, who are based in Cardington. And have built an 'airship' which is mostly British made, excepting a skin which comes from the US due to their expertise in impermeable membranes with NASA spacesuits.

We predominantly make components for other nation's firms (A380 wings anyone?) but not this time. The chief test pilot is a Brit, as are the team. Oh, and it's registered G-PHRG...not N7077A!

I rest my case.

Whilst the jury is out, it occurs to me to add the Delorean DMC-12 to the list.
Great invention for travel back in time. In that sense somewhat similar to this
HAV balloon. Great for going backwards with the wind in the right direction of course.

skridlov
11th Feb 2016, 19:33
Ladies and gentlemen, I offer, in evidence: The Hovercraft.

skyship007
11th Feb 2016, 19:41
The Airlander is a 3 way hybrid, as it combines vectored thrust airship, heavier than air aircraft and helicopter design aspects. So it has great endurance, economy and range, combined with vertical heavy lift operational capabilities AND all of it "Off airport", if required.

The Airlander is much faster and more agile (Usefull in turbulence) than a normal airship. The 100kt short range dash and 50kt normal cruise make it less effected by the winds.

skyship007
11th Feb 2016, 19:47
AND Concorde AND the Harrier jump jet!

Notthemainline
11th Feb 2016, 20:53
Ladies and gentlemen, I offer, in evidence: The Hovercraft.


Wiki says that the US military operate 80 hovercraft as of 2012, with no plans to drop the fleet below 40 in the long term. Yes, it's a specialist vehicle, but by no means a failure.

enola-gay
12th Feb 2016, 20:42
If nuclear fusion becomes viable for large scale power generation we will have more helium than we know what to do with - apart from filling balloons and airships and talking like a duck

beamender99
13th Feb 2016, 09:33
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Aug. 10, 2012 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited announce the successful completion of the first flight of the U.S. Army's Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) in historic Lakehurst, N.J., the birthplace of the nation's storied military airship past.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z72GPZ3MI2M

b1lanc
13th Feb 2016, 15:37
FWIW, I seem to recall an article in a popular technology magazine sometime back in the '60s about a similar tri-hulled dirigible being built in New Jersey(?), whose stated purpose was to distribute Bibles in Africa! Later, the authorities stepped in and charged the promoters with fraud.

That was probably Aereon Corp and the original intent of the tri-hull was to distribute supplies to Africa. The Navy was not enthusiastic as it had suffered some disastrous accidents from its early warning arsenal (blimp and ocean rigs) around 1960. I don't recall any fraud charges but might have missed it in the news.

But, growing up in the area, there were almost continual attempts to revive a blimp program. Visited Lakehurst NAS on a number of occasions. Getting financial backing was always a problem as there was no interest from the military and commercial applications were, well, of the type you mentioned - hence very limited.