Airlander- a hybrid air vehicle a part of UK government’s SafePilot Weather Watch Project
Greenwich, London. 10 September 2017. Airlander contributes to the collaborative SafePilot Weather Watch Project and is a prototype weather and airspace-aware route planner for aircraft – both manned and unmanned. In essence, a 3-D state-of-the-art GPS navigation system that contains real-time weather and all pilot chart information.
The company announced the successful conclusion of this UK Government funded programme. Safepilot Weather Watch was a £160,000 project – including a £80,000 National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) Grant – that was initiated to create a weather and airspace-aware route planning tool for manned and unmanned aircraft. Planned routes improve both efficiency and safety, both pre-flight and in-flight. Blue Bear Systemsled the project, in partnership with the Met Office and Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV). The SafePilot Weather Watch Project recently drew to a close following a number of landmark achievements.
Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander was chosen for use as a customer due to the huge range of capabilities not previously available in one single aircraft. The recently completed SafePilot Weather Watch Project was a £160,000 project with the purpose of combining live weather, airspace, terrain and other data to support in-flight route planning for both private and commercial operations – manned and unmanned. Airlanders’ delivery of brand new aviation capability meant it was chosen as customer due to its unique ability to fly at a wide range of altitudes easily and at a range of speeds, particularly some low loiter speeds, where weather data could be important.
This grant supported a consortium led by Blue Bear Systems with their partner the Met Office and Airlander as their end user. This grant allows the Met Office to contribute to this project via the exploitation of their meteorological Big Data that is delivered every day from their new state-of-theart supercomputer. A NATEP Grant provided £80,000 funding; the grant was funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS Dept.) and administered by Birmingham Finance on behalf of Birmingham City Council. NATEP supports the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) Strategy ‘Lifting Off’. NATEP is Project Managed by ADS and this project was delivered through Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC). Project achievements .
Creation of a common geospatial database for all Blue Bear products, which define weather, terrain elevation, airspace restrictions, airport locations, road & rail infrastructure, and more. Exploitation of UK-Gov Big Data from the Met Office, creating new markets for UK talent and expertise. Exploitation of previous UK ‘autonomy’ research to support next-generation aircraft trajectory planning algorithms to improve both safety and efficiency of operations. Integration of 3-D visualisation of complex geospatial information into Blue Bear’s versatile Ground Control Station (vGCS).
Blue Bear Systems will continue to progress SafePilot Weather Watch as part of their participation with the Airstart Programme whilst Airlander is continuing with its landmark Flight Test Programme throughout the rest of this year. About Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd Founded in 2007, Hybrid Air Vehicles is the company behind the innovative Airlander range of hybrid aircraft. Airlander’s create new capability in the air with ultra-endurance combined with large payloads. This gives unprecedented surveillance, search and communications aspects, and will ultimately lead to passenger and cargo carrying roles.
The Airlander 10 combines the best characteristics of fixed-wing aircraft with lighter-than-air technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient and sustainable aircraft, with significantly lower pollution – including noise, its carbon footprint. This green aircraft also has significantly lower operating costs and maintenance needs than standard forms of air transport. They can take off and land from unprepared sites in desert, ice, water, or open field environments in a short distance.
Airlander 10 is designed to stay airborne for up to five days at a time to fulfil a wide range of communication and survey roles, as well as cargo carrying and tourist passenger flights. Hybrid Air Vehicles has been awarded both UK and European* grant funding to support the Airlander project. In addition the company has carried out two ‘crowdfunding’ rounds and is proud to have more than 2000 enthusiastic shareholders.
Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd was recently accepted onto London 3 Stock Exchange’s ELITE programme for high growth companies looking to seek a listing on the AIM Stock Market. Over the past few years Hybrid Air Vehicles has won a number of awards which validate our technology, and the great workforce that have created a unique concept and product. Our award successes reflect our remarkable achievements, won through dogged entrepreneurial determination and private investment spanning 40 years.
Hybrid Air Vehicles recognise the critical role Airlander plays in inspiring future Scientists, Technologists, Engineers and Mathematicians and we actively educate and encourage young people into STEM careers through collaboration with industry leaders, government bodies, educators and individuals. HAV currently employs 3 Apprentices, who are studying at Bedford College. *The Airlander project was selected for EU funding through a dedicated SME Instrument of Horizon 2020, which the European Commission uses to invest in and support high growth and highly innovative small businesses.
The technology is also fully in line with activities under the Smart, Green and Integrated Transport Societal Challenge of Horizon 2020, which aims to boost the competitiveness of the European transport industries and achieve a European transport system that is resource-efficient, climate-and-environmentally-friendly, safe and seamless for the benefit of all citizens, the economy and society