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The monster aircraft employs a simple ground-breaking design void of any metal structures. Up to 60 percent of the vehicle’s lift is provided by helium; the remainder by the forward momentum provided by an aerodynamic “wing” powered by four independent engines. Though certainly not “lighter than air”, the Airlander 10 has a significantly lower carbon footprint than any other form of air transport.
Its multi-mission capability allows Airlander to carry passengers, payloads or stores for up to five days without landing or to operate within an unmanned environment for as many as 20 days. It can land on ice, sea, sand … anywhere. In 35 knot crosswinds, it would take off vertically like a helicopter. All it requires to operate is a 100-meter rectangle of clear space beyond its actual footprint.
Tom Grundy, HAV Operations and Risk Manager, explains why they approached Allianz to insure the mammoth project: “We wanted an insurer who understands our business and can tailor their approach as our product matures.” They made a good choice. Allianz has been insuring the aviation industry since the first commercial flight took off over 100 years ago.
“Allianz sees HAV as a game-changing technology. It combines the best of rotor-wing, fixed-wing and lighter-than-air vehicles. Experts expect the hybrid market to be worth up to 50 billion dollars (36 billion pounds sterling) in the next 20 years with over 600 vehicles deployed,” says AGCS expert, Craig Armitage.
What’s next? HAV has had a lot of interest from operators looking at luxury tourism and safaris, and various sorts of leisure flying. “We think it would be an amazing experience – slow-flight, floor-to-ceiling windows and just being able to float over and watch what’s going on,” says HAV's Chris Daniels. And on the horizon? Airlander 10’s big brother. The Airlander 50, capable of holding 50 tons of cargo.
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