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Wed, Mar 08, 2017

Airlander Prepares For Return To Flight

Structural Damage Sustained On The Flight Deck During Second Test Flight Last August Now Repaired

The Airlander team is pleased to announce that the structural damage sustained to the Flight Deck during its second Test Flight last August has now been repaired.  Following this successful repair of the Flight Deck structure, Airlander is now structurally complete ahead of Hangar Exit and resuming the Flight Test Program.

The key visible change is that we now have an Auxiliary Landing System (ALS) which allows the aircraft to land safely at a greater range of attitudes than previously. This has been fitted forward of the main landing gear (skids) and, like our main landing gear, is a pressurised air cushion which contacts the ground during a landing. In addition we have made a series of improvements to our ground systems to reduce the chance of an equipment failure such as the problem with the mooring mast winch that triggered the incident in August last year. We are also modifying the aircraft to make sure that if the mooring line were ever to hang down from the aircraft again, as it did that day, it can be recovered so that it does not interfere with the approach and landing of the aircraft.

The telemetry data, as well as vidio and audio from both on-board and ground sources have been extensively analyzed and reviewed, which has allowed the team to understand how the aircraft performed in great detail. Those results have been fed back into the simulator, which has allowed much more realistic training in normal and emergency conditions for the flight crew, which will help in managing a wider range of potential scenarios than was previously the case. This will help the crew if they are again called upon to respond to unexpected events such as last August’s unplanned steep approach to the airfield, which was caused by the mooring line hanging down underneath it.

A rigorous testing and training program has now commenced to prepare for Airlander taking to the skies again. “Over this period the whole focus of the team has been to improve the way we work and the way we operate the aircraft so that our next stage of flying achieves all of our objectives. Our work in this has been guided by our investigations, which were conducted and reviewed in line with the exhaustive standards that are the norm across the aerospace industry,” said Tom Grundy, Operations Director.

Hybrid Air Vehicles continues to benefit from strong investor and customer support, and are progressing a number of customer demonstrations opportunities and potential sales. "Throughout the last six months we have been heartened by the many messages of support from people outside our immediate business who understand the learning process that is at the heart of flight test," said Hybrid Air Vehicles CEO, Steve McGlennan. "We have every confidence that, in delivering the key learning points that we have identified, we will be in a great position to deliver a safe, robust and effective flight test program when we get back into the air.  We look forward to showing off the best of British innovation and Engineering to the world again very soon.”

(Images provided with Hybrid Air Vehicles news release)

FMI: www.hybridairvehicles.com


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