The United Kingdom (UK) Aerospace Research and Technology Programme has awarded grant funding in excess of £1m ($1.3m) to a partnership between Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited (HAV), Collins Aerospace Systems (Collins), and the University of Nottingham (UoN) to advance electric propulsion technologies. The team will be using HAV’s Airlander 10 hybrid airship – the world's largest aircraft by mass – as an integration platform for electric propulsion development.
The Airlander 10 hybrid airship uses combination of lighter-than-air flight, body-generated lift, and distributed vectored propulsors to achieve a speed of 80 knots and a service ceiling of 20,000 feet with a gross weight of 44,092 pounds (including 22,050 pounds of cargo capacity). It can stay airborne in an unmanned configuration for up to five days.
While the sole Airlander 10 prototype is currently powered by four 350-horsepower, four-liter, supercharged V8 diesel engines, the new partnership will work towards developing a full-sized prototype 500kW electric propulsor.
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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.
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