Air­lan­der flies, suf­fers ac­ci­dent

Pilot - - PILOT NOTES -

The Air­lan­der 10 air­ship made its first flight on 17 Au­gust. It took off from Card­ing­ton in Bed­ford­shire at 19.45 and re­turned to land af­ter a nine­teen­minute flight – shorter than planned be­cause of a late start and the need to re­turn be­fore dark.

Once air­borne, Chief Test Pi­lot Dave Burns and col­league Si­mon Davies kept the air­craft within a five nau­ti­cal mile ra­dius of the air­field, climb­ing to 500ft and reach­ing a max­i­mum speed of 35kt. The flight marked the start of the Air­lan­der 10’s flight test pro­gramme, af­ter which it is due to be­gin a se­ries of demon­stra­tions to prospec­tive cus­tomers.

‘The Air­lan­der is ex­pected to be a show­case of UK in­no­va­tion,’ says Air­lan­der de­vel­oper Hy­brid Air Ve­hi­cles Ltd. ‘The next step is to en­sure the gov­ern­ment runs a trial in or­der to demon­strate the po­ten­tial of this amaz­ing air­craft to the world... This will help en­sure the £6m of gov­ern­ment grants re­ceived thus far lead to or­ders.’ The com­pany is also look­ing to raise eq­uity from in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors to fund some as­pects of the flight test pro­gramme.

Sadly, the gi­ant air­ship suf­fered a land­ing ac­ci­dent on its sec­ond flight — seven days af­ter the first — when it pitched down on ap­proach to Card­ing­ton and struck the ground hard, caus­ing sub­stan­tial dam­age to the un­der­slung cabin and cock­pit. Hap­pily, no crew in­juries were re­ported.

For a full de­scrip­tion of the Air­lan­der, see ‘Air­ship Re­drawn’ Pi­lot, May 2016.

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