A Forres-based electronics company is helping the Airlander – the world’s biggest ‘green’ balloon – to take off. At 300-ft. long the Airlander – which is filled with non-inflammable helium – offers the prospect of low-carbon mass-market aviation.
The world’s largest aircraft, it is able to stay in flight continuously for up to five days and can land and take off in the traditional ‘farmer’s field’ (and on sand, ice or water).
The Duke of Kent – a pilot and aviation enthusiast – will officially name the Airlander-10 balloon today (12 April). His visit will include taking a “flight” in the Flight Trainer with Chief Test Pilot, David Burns, and spending time on the flight deck and cabin of the aircraft.
Scotland Electronics – which specialises in high temperature, downhole electronics and other technology for the North Sea oil and gas industry – has also played a key part in getting the Airlander ready for its historic first flight as a sponsor.
Developer Hybrid Air has now received the two key documents needed for First Flight from its hangar in Bedfordshire near London – the Flight Conditions approval certificate from EASA (the European Aviation Safety Agency) and the Permit to Fly from the UK’s CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).
Take-off and flight is now authorised once it has completed the agreed ground-testing and associated documentation.
It aims to exploit new aerospace technology that combines the best of the characteristics of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter-than-air technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft, with a significantly lower carbon footprint and operating cost than other forms of air transport.
If commercially successful, it will have major disruptive impacts on the global aviation industry.