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New Gen AirShips - Hybrid Air Vehicles, UK

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New Gen AirShips - Hybrid Air Vehicles, UK

Old 2nd Apr 2016, 15:30
  #321 (permalink)  
 
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Well they may have their doubters, but the just collected another £500,000...
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Old 2nd Apr 2016, 15:41
  #322 (permalink)  
 
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B Word.

Not convinced.

1. Aerostats, Helicopters and UAVs operated all year round in AFG with few problems that were planned around.

2. PHit and PKill of those weapon systems is seriously reduced by just a little altitude. ZPU was not a weapon you used for fear of losing it, was hard to conceal and difficult to train crews on. The TB plinked the odd aerostat but a moving (albeit slowly) target in the 3-5K block would be v difficult to hit. Even if hit, as discussed earlier, a burst of DShK /ZPU is extremely unlikely to bring a HAV down.

3. So don't fly it at ML. Lots of FW/RW suffered in that environment due to Density Altitude. Plan to avoid it.

4. FP for everyone got a real shock during the Bastion attack. AV-8Bs were not safe, and we were routinely rocketed at KAF. Very, very occasionally they got lucky, but no more than that.

The military has to get out of the mindset of "high tech all the time". It's ruinous financially, and you burn through the life of your exquisite toys too quickly. HAV could have saved 1000s of flight hours on other types. Having tasked & used several ISR types in Theatre, I can see multiple uses for the HAV. That's before you think about Harvest Hawk / Viper Strike style capability to provide persistant low CDE fires at a fraction of the price of a AC-130 (or FJ CAS) for a pre-planned Op. No good for responsive ECAS, but very usable for pre-planned stuff.

The same dinosaurs that laughed off the rebirth of UAVs/RPAS have now got a new kid to bully in an effort to protect the status quo. This time they may be right, but it's worth a few £ to find out.
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Old 2nd Apr 2016, 18:41
  #323 (permalink)  
 
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Evalu8tor

Aerostats, Helicopters and UAVs operated all year round in AFG with few problems that were planned around
Let's just take your first point:

1. Aerostats were a constant target in hot areas - lot's of holes and many many kgs of lead rattling around inside - I've seen quite a few saggy ones being reeled in. They have no engines, fuel or persons on board, but if they did then this would probably have been hit with varying results. I do know that payloads were 'plinked' by the TB, though.

2. Helicopters either flew >5,000ft at over twice the speed and are probably <5% the size of a HAV; so hard to hit. Or they flew nap of the earth - which is what I experienced around KAF or LKG, with the biggest threat being those damn kites!

3. Reaper and Hermes 450 flew in the medium level block, were 2-4 times the speed of HAV and again <5% of its size.

There were damaged large aircraft at KAF as well, but they were nowhere near the size of a HAV. So really nonw of your arguments convince me...sorry.

The B Word
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Old 2nd Apr 2016, 19:42
  #324 (permalink)  
 
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As a matter of interest, I flew the Optica prototype and I was impressed in that it did exactly what it said on the tin.
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Old 2nd Apr 2016, 20:13
  #325 (permalink)  
 
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B Word,

How do you account for the fact that, save for the money and technical issues, the US Army was going to deploy the very same HAV to Afghanistan? Do you know something they don't?
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Old 2nd Apr 2016, 21:45
  #326 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Royalistflyer View Post
As a matter of interest, I flew the Optica prototype and I was impressed in that it did exactly what it said on the tin.
I thought that the lack of payload, no space for police radio or hand-carried camera equipment, over-sensitive CG sensitivity (remember the need to move ballast weights when your observer got out), poor cruise performance for the power, lack of IFR/IMC/night capability, and 45 ft wingspan and offset nosewheel on the ground were all a bit limiting. Also I thought that neutral to positive spiral stability would have been an improvement over the slightly divergent mode when I looked at the behaviour in role relatable steady state low level turns over a point simulating monitoring a target on the ground.

I'd love to do an evaluation of the Australian Seabird Seeker for comparison. I suspect that it's solved most of those problems and may be rather better platform. I did try to get some gen off the manufacturers as a colleague and I were interested in seeing whether it would be worth trying to import, but they didn't seem inclined to share. Which was a shame.

G
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Old 2nd Apr 2016, 23:44
  #327 (permalink)  
 
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Oh FFS, the LEMV was not cancelled solely due to monetary constraints:

When we contacted the US Army, a spokesman said, “The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), a hybrid air vehicle, is a technology demonstration project administered by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. This project was initially designed to support operational needs in Afghanistan in Spring 2012; it will not provide a capability in the timeframe required. Due to technical and performance challenges, and the limitations imposed by constrained resources, the Army has determined to discontinue the LEMV development effort."

Due to technical and performance challenges, and the limitations imposed by constrained resources, the Army has determined to discontinue the LEMV development effort,” the service says in a statement.


http://aviationweek.com/defense/tech...lemv-airship-0



"The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in October 2012 that the first LEMV was 12,000 lb. overweight, reducing endurance to four-five days. The Army proposed lowering the operating altitude to 16,000 ft. to push endurance back up to 16 days." Guess what the quoted enduarnce for Airlander is? That's right 4-6 days!!!

It was cancelled by the US military because it had already cost a fortune and was delievring about a 1/7th of the promised capability. They had been duped once again by the snake oil salesmen!!!

LJ
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Old 3rd Apr 2016, 11:09
  #328 (permalink)  
 
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Leon:
Oh FFS, the LEMV was not cancelled solely due to monetary constraints:
No one said it was Leon:

Myself:
save for the money and technical issues
and
The US Army obviously didn't agree with your "absolute disaster' appraisal of the HAV's chances in Afghanistan. It was only budgetary and technical issues that prevented its deployment, not operational ones.
Don't be making up arguments that no one's making for you to refute, FFS. The point is, that the budgetary and technical reasons for its not being deployed do not mean that there were necessarily operational reasons also.

It was cancelled by the US military because it had already cost a fortune and was delievring about a 1/7th of the promised capability.
You are, of course, referring to the Northrop Grumman LEMV system and not the HAV vehicle which is the subject of this thread.

Saying the HAV is useless because the LEMV programme was flawed is no different to saying that the BAC Comet was useless because of the Nimrod AEW3 programme.

Last edited by melmothtw; 3rd Apr 2016 at 12:01.
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Old 3rd Apr 2016, 13:50
  #329 (permalink)  
 
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Melmothtw

You missed the important bit with your highlighting. Let me redo it for you with my own underline:

technical issues that prevented its deployment
It was OPERATIONALLY non-deployable and they pulled the plug on it before they wasted anymore money on it as it was obviously never going to deliver what the snake oil salesmen had promised.

Finally, the HAV Airlander and the Northrop Grumman LEMV are the SAME airship, FFS! They bought it back from NG for £301,000 after NG had spent a bl00dy fortune on it - apparently it was a 'bargain'...

Northrop Grumman/HAV-Developed Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) Reappears as HAV Airlander - UAS VISION

People throwing their good money at this is as bad as the Vulcan to The Sky business - some people in the company will be lining their pockets and in 5 years time this will all be but a distant memory. As others have said, we'd be better off spending the money on Air Cadet gliders if you want to promote STEM in this country.

LJ
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Old 3rd Apr 2016, 14:02
  #330 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, it IS the same airship but NOT the same system (see my earlier point about the Comet and Nimrod AEW3).

The problems with the LEMV were to do with the ISR aspects of the programme, not the base airship, FFS.
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Old 3rd Apr 2016, 14:08
  #331 (permalink)  
 
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As others have said, we'd be better off spending the money on Air Cadet gliders if you want to promote STEM in this country.
There's nothing stopping you from creating a crowdcube/kickstarter fund for this if you believe in it.
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Old 3rd Apr 2016, 19:13
  #332 (permalink)  
 
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I don't quite understand why those that hate the airships get so excited about the whole thing.

I have no idea if they will ever work, but the total amount wasted even if they never work is about the same as the F35 tail-hook, FFS!

It's something different. That always takes time.

I imagine after the first 10 attempts at hovering jets were useless that there were many like yourselves saying that they were snake-oil salesmen.

Then came the Harrier......
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Old 3rd Apr 2016, 19:48
  #333 (permalink)  
 
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Tourist - Exactly. From the earliest days the bane of LTA was the idea that first-of-class ships were not experimental aircraft. (See R.101, unfortunate end of.) There have been exactly two large hybrid airships flown. The HAV craft has flown once and the P-791 not much more than that.

The current HAV team has (I think) learned that lesson from the LEMV shambles, and is not proposing the aircraft at Cardington as anything other than a prototype and a platform for demonstrations, nor suggesting unmanned ops anywhere in the near term.
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Old 3rd Apr 2016, 20:08
  #334 (permalink)  
 
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Well said Tourist.

I've no professional connection with HAV (a few friends and former colleagues working there only) and have never worked on airships myself. However, I've studied them quite a bit, simply because I find them very interesting.

In my opinion, the mainstream role of the airship ended with the creation of long distance airliners like the DC2. However, that doesn't mean that they haven't had a useful off-centre role, and can't now and in the future.

During WW1 and WW2 non-rigid airships had a successful role as submarine hunters. They've had occasions in recent years as relatively lucrative advertising platforms, and they've done bits of worthwhile science - spending long periods following whales or monitoring wildlife in forest canopies. It's all niche, but that doesn't make it worthless, or financially unjustifiable.

There are some obvious downsides of airships - they're easy targets to hostiles, slow, don't handle bad weather very well, and a bitch to divert with. They have limited payloads, and it's very hard to manage rapid changes in payloads. On long trips, they have problems with rainfall, and with changes in ambient air density.

However, they also can stay airborne for very long periods relatively cheaply. They can potentially carry small, sensitive payloads for those long periods - and modern electronics expand the range of such payloads that can usefully be carried.


That said, I think that the performance being claimed for the Airlander to the US Military probably was snake oil - it doesn't match my understand of what a modern helium airship can do. However, it is entirely reasonable to expect a body as large and well resourced as the US DoD to do their own review of the capabilities of an in development system that they're funding.

On which basis...

(1) In my opinion, the snake oil salesmen were probably inside the DoD.

(2) HAV has a potential future, it's a small future, but it can have a role, and it has potential to make enough money to be viable.

Best of luck to them. Many aircraft projects fail, of all sizes and shapes, so - this one is certainly vulnerable. But, I don't think it's destined to certain failure.

G
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Old 3rd Apr 2016, 21:35
  #335 (permalink)  
 
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Of particular interest are the developments in solar panel tech.
Things have come along in leaps and bounds recently due to the investment in solar satellite tech and persistent UAVs.
One thing that blimps certainly have is space for lightweight panels.
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Old 3rd Apr 2016, 22:24
  #336 (permalink)  
 
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Very true, also lightweight electric motors that didn't exist at anything like the efficiency 20 years ago.

G
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Old 4th Apr 2016, 17:21
  #337 (permalink)  

 
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Leon Jabachjabicz
People throwing their good money at this is as bad as the Vulcan to The Sky business
Perhaps you haven't been keeping up with the VTTS business, LJ, but last year XH558 completed eight years of highly successful and popular flying. In the early years of the century, if you listened to the naysayers, she was never expected to fly again. And then, when she did fly, she was only expected to last a couple of years.

She became the most popular aeroplane in the country - more popular even than the Red Arrows.

As for the money, she cost the taxpayer nothing, and the money that kept her going was willingly given by a delighted public. The trust raised £23million up to the end of last year.

Her engineering model was so successful that the CAA now cites the project as a model for big heritage restorations. In fact, I suggest you watch that space.

If nothing else, it'll give you something else to whinge about.....

But anyway, back to the subject in hand - if HAV goes as well as Vulcan did, it'll be another triumph.

airsound
XH558 commentator
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Old 4th Apr 2016, 20:18
  #338 (permalink)  
 
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Airsound

You seemed to have missed the other half of my sentence in your quote!

some people in the company will be lining their pockets and in 5 years time this will all be but a distant memory.
There has been much comment on the massive wage/expenses bill of some of the staff on the VTTS Trust. It was supposed to be a charity and many people put good money into it only to be asked for more the following year due to the 'Trust' running low on money - meantime some of the staff were pulling in some pretty good wages for what they were supposedly doing for the good of the aircraft.

There were many that just claimed reasonable expenses but others that appeared to have their snouts in the trough looking at the accounts returns?

LJ
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Old 4th Apr 2016, 20:49
  #339 (permalink)  

 
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LJ - this really is thread creep, and I didn't want to get into this discussion - but, briefly:
I’m sure you must know that any organisation with an annual turnover of more than a million is not run by people on ”reasonable expenses”. The very successful charity that was the Vulcan To The Sky Trust was run, like most charities of that sort of size, by people being paid appropriately and entirely legally.

No donor was forced to pay anything to the charity that they didn’t want to. And there were many thousands of volunteers who also gave happily of their time, knowing that some in the organisation were being paid.

If you know of any evidence of illegal activity, then you must, of course, bring it to the attention of the appropriate authorities. But perhaps “others …. appeared to have their snouts in the trough” won’t quite cut it with those authorities.

Now back to HAV - and I do hope it goes as well as XH558 did!

airsound
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Old 4th Apr 2016, 21:04
  #340 (permalink)  
 
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Posted not by me, but a well known poster on PPRuNe:

I donated once and ever since I have been bombarded with begging letters which I simply bin, they seem to know no bounds as to how low they will stoop to extract Money, it is also one of the few historical civilian aircraft that pays its crew to fly it, didn't mind funding the aircraft considering the amount of people that give their time for free to help keep it airworthy, but to fund the crew..I will pass.
BUT the year it flew to Waddington I think it was, where all the blurb for the show swelled the crowds to see the Vulcan fly, with some people travelling hundreds of miles with their families to see it and having paid to get in to find it was actually in the static as the VOC prior to it arriving knew the Permit to Fly would not be in place. They then left all the unpaid volunteers to face the anger of those that had spent a lot of money to get there, whilst the paid Aircrew, Staff and Dr Fleming stayed well away.... I truly felt for those volunteers and the abuse they got...
I would rather see it reduced to baked bean cans than it see another £1 out of my pocket to pay the wages of Fleming and his cronies.

0ct 2009 accounts

Wages and salaries 642,680
Social security. 59,263
Pension costs 2,474

Total 704,714

Average number of employees 17

Highest earning Robert Pleming 72,000

A lot of tin rattling before a penny gets spent on the jet.

For full details see

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk...091031_E_C.PDF
This has everything to do with my HAV argument. Did the people that crowdfunded the £1/2million have any idea where their money would go? Did they know it might end up lining execs' pockets rather than the naive belief it was helping to fund the thing to fly? Lots of promises, sales pitches and glossy brochures using too much artistic licence - "aerospace hussle" - comes to mind! Or have the HAV team undertaken to spend none of the crowdfunding on wages and only on production materials and/or direct support costs for fuel (without creative accounting to achieve this)?

LJ
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