Airlander Club, July 2015 e-newsletter

AIRLANDER - the world's largest aircraft. Airlander is innovative and green, with game-changing endurance and payload.

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Niky Jeffries, HAV HR Officer, updates on our ongoing recruitment successes, "We now have a total headcount of 82 employees, this includes everyone from Non-Execs to Casual Labour staff and it’s great to see the hive of activity out on the Hangar floor! We are still looking to fill at least another 15 or so jobs, however, the numbers change daily, so please keep your eye on our careers page and feel free to share with friends and family."

One job that doesn't come up very regularly - flying the Airlander! Are you an Experimental Test Pilot? We are looking for an additional pilot to work alongside Dave Burns, taking the Airlander 10 through its Flight Test Programme next year. The successful candidate will be a recent graduate of ETPS, or similar international equivalent and hold an EASA CPL with Category 1 and 2 Flight Test Ratings on aircraft or helicopters, so unfortunately not one for a weekend recreational PPL!


All vacancies are updated regularly at: http://www.hybridairvehicles.com/careers
 

Welcome to Airlander Club's monthly e-newsletter. Check out our UPDATED website at www.hybridairvehicles.com and our Facebook and Twitter pages for all the latest HAV news. 

Our partnership with OceanSky in Sweden was first announced in December last year.  This month, we are pleased to introduce Carl-Oscar Lawaczeck, one of the founders of OceanSky. Carl writes for us about OceanSky's vision and how it allies with Airlander.

Airlander's Return to Flight Programme continues on schedule. A recent recruit to our Team, Ashley Appleton, HAV Head of Rigid Structures, gives our members a detailed look at the five main components of Airlander's mission module, originally designed for the US Government programme in 2010 to 2012 (called the LEMV programme).  During this time, Airlander successfully flew for 90 minutes on her first flight in August, 2012.  We look forward, with confidence, to her first UK flight in the first half of next year.  Thank you to Mark Wagner, a leading professional aviation photographer, for giving permission to use some of his amazing photos of Airlander in Ashley's article. 

After joining a recent Hard Hat Hangar Tour, Nigel Walsh wrote to us with some excellent thoughts, questions and even praise for our newsletter - thank you!  How the wind impacts on Airlander's speed and operational aspects regularly feature in Q&A sessions, so we thought we would hand over our technical corner this month to Club Member Nigel, with Nick Allman, HAV Programme Director providing the answers.

This week, the lucky finalists of the 2015 SAC Competition were invited to our Hangar 1 for a tour and presentation by our Chris Daniels, HAV Head of Partnerships and Communications. The visit was scheduled as part of their incredible prize - a free five night residential course at the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing, Cranfield University. All in our office were in awe of the course timetable when we saw it - we were all keen to attend!  Graham Stark from the SAC team, expressed his appreciation for our contribution to their course programme, "Many thanks for all your efforts yesterday - a great visit - and we really appreciate the fact that you hosted us at such an intense time in your activities.  A lot of chatter on the way back in the bus - I think they would have quite happily stayed on for another couple of hours asking you questions!"

 
Barry Robertson our STEM Ambassador gives an overview of our successful contribution to the STEM Fair at Duxford on 1st July. Our burgeoning STEM programme began only three terms ago, and looking back Barry reports, "During the last academic year well over 500 students became aware of Airlander in a STEM context through our talks, workshops and projects. The Airlander mini-projects developed in collaboration with Bedford College were very successful and it is planned to repeat them next year. In a similar way, we are partnering with UTC Cambridge to design and deliver an Airlander Challenge Project to around 60 Year 12 students – more about this in a future edition of the newsletter."

Are you interested in helping inspire the next generation of British engineers, whilst promoting Airlander? If so, we would be pleased to hear from you. Training and on-going support will be provided by HAV, and our dedicated STEM Ambassador for Bedfordshire, Barry Robertson. Please contact: stem@hybridairvehicles.net
 
We hope you enjoy this month's newsletter, and have a wonderful summer.

The Airlander Team

 

It is your club.
We are always interested in feedback on our newsletter and we are keen to hear about any other things you would like to see us doing with Airlander Club.

Do you have any technical questions you would like answered by one of our technical team? 
E-mail airlanderclub@hybridairvehicles.net

OceanSky to host Airlander 10 for a demonstration tour in Scandinavia in 2016


OceanSky is a Swedish registered company, founded by a group evolving from the cargo aviation sector in Europe and the research field of sustainable energy, production and land use in Scandinavia. OceanSky's vision is to deliver competitive and sustainable means of transportation globally. The strategy is to operate as an airline, delivering transport services by hybrid airships and develop the concept further to reach new and unexpected markets. OceanSky also works with other institutions, organizations and companies to further develop the potential of lighter than air technology, in both environmental and economical ways.
 
OceanSky is now busy forming the application for Air Operator Certificate approval from the Swedish EASA-regulated Civil Aviation Authority. The organisation is expanding, in order to be ready to deliver services using the Airlander in 2016. The initial objective is to transport outsized cargo to regions with insufficient infrastructure, and we believe the Airlander will prove to be an excellent vehicle. One of our most interesting focuses is the wind power logistical challenge, which need improvements both from a sustainable and economical perspective.
 
Together with our partners, OceanSky is planning to host the Airlander for a demonstration tour in Scandinavia in 2016. Therefore, all interested parties are being approached, including industry and governmental organizations, in order to promote the future use of lighter than air technology. The first Airlander 10, which is now assembled in Cardington, will be a proof of concept demonstrator, in order for commercialisation to follow in the outsized cargo sector, as well as other markets.
 
The management culture of OceanSky shall be driven by high standards in business ethics, sustainability and long term social responsibility. We at OceanSky are motivated by contributing to a better world, with respect for human dignity and the preservation of natural values and social responsibility. We think a genuinely fair and respected brand is something that will pay off in the long run and open opportunities that otherwise would pass us by. We believe companies are for people and communities, serving other people and other communities in a transparent and open business climate. We believe in profitability as a way to scale globally, where profits are reinvested in order to speed up momentum that benefits the world and its citizens.


 

Author
Carl-Oscar Lawaczeck
col@oceansky.se

BSc Economics and Logistics. University of Gothenburg 1999 - 2002
Aviation and commercial pilot license qualifications. Lund University (SAS-affiliated) 2002 -2004
Master Mariner Class VII. Kalmar Maritime Academy 2006 - 2007
Commercial Airline Pilot in cargo and VIP operations 2004-2014
Nord-Flyg ground operations, security manager and project manager of world first Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 cargo conversion 2008-2010


 

Return to Flight Up-date
AIRLANDER 10 - RIGID STRUCTURES
 


Ashley Appleton is a new team member at HAV.  Ashley said, "I lived and grew up in the Heathrow area, and have traveled extensively for work, hence my passion for aircraft.  I joined HAV a few months ago as Head of Rigid Structures and got excited at the challenge of returning Airlander 10 to flight.  My role encompasses a lot of aerospace principles and processes. I believe in the potential future vision of the Airlander 10, and my involvement in the development program will help take Airlander into the commercial passenger market."  Ashley has written for our members this month, detailing the various components of our current mission module.


Ashley is a Senior Structural Aerospace engineer with 30 years’ experience in primary composite and metallic structures, gained on site at the top four global OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers): Boeing (Seattle -USA); Airbus (Germany); Bombardier (Montreal ,Canada) and Embraer (Brazil). 
 

Airlanders' Mission Module is pictured above viewed from the rear, with the fuel module in the foreground. Photo Credit: Mark Wagner, http://www.aviation-images.com/home.php

Airlander 10 consists of five major rigid structural components: a mission module suspended beneath the main envelope (called the hull); a fuel module that carries the fuel; a centre payload beam (CPB) that also transports the fuel and electrical signals in conduits to the mission module; the mooring mast interface (MMI), that connects with the mooring mast, which anchors the vehicle when it is on the ground and finally, four tail fins at the rear of the vehicle. These five major components are all constructed of hybrid composite materials and composite sandwich panels.

The load carrying composite materials are known as Prepregs, which are carbon or glass fibre fabrics, pre-impregnated with epoxy resin, which when cured (or cooked) in an oven, known as an autoclave, form a high strength rigid structural component.
 
Foam is also used in a composite sandwich construction for rigidity and stiffness.  There is also a minimum amount of metal used on the vehicle, such as titanium, aluminium alloys and corrosion resistant steels.

The objective is a Return to Flight (RTF) of the vehicle, under a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Permit to Fly certificate. In order to achieve this objective, we have to comply with EASA'S various rigorous rules and regulations. Stress analysis is performed on the vehicle to predict the strength of the joints and materials used. This data is then verified by testing. Together these processes ensure we have a safe and robust Airlander when it flies.


As with all production and engineering tasks, there are many challenges. The main challenge is simply sourcing the composite materials, which are in great demand from other aerospace companies and other high performance engineering companies (such as Formula 1). We are fortunate with having secured a deal and a great working relationship with another local world-class firm, Forward Composites.  Typically, long lead delivery times are inherent in the process, as some of the materials have to come from overseas, so to mitigate this road block, we aim for a ‘just-in-time’ process, as composite materials have a shelf life applied from when purchased, similar to a used-by date on a consumer product.

We will only engage with a specific and small group of suppliers to come aboard to help us in the RTF program, as they have to be aerospace compliant to satisfy EASA.

The whole Airlander 10 RTF program is very engaging and challenging. I have a passion for it to succeed and believe it is limitless in its future.

Author: Ashley Appleton
Head of Rigid Structures


Airlander's electrical system (pictured below) is housed in the mission module, between the cockpit and the payload area, mounted in racks. It handles almost 1 third of a megawatt.
Photo Credit: Mark Wagner, 
http://www.aviation-images.com/home.php
 

Photo of the Month

Our valorous HAV charity runners feature this month, with an optimistic selfie, ahead of their 10k run on Sunday 12 July.

Tom Grundy, Operations Director (centre), David Mitchell, Head of Electrical and Avionics (right) and Rowan Geddes, Propulsion Engineer,
ran the British 10k London Run in aid of Aviation Without Borders,
our charity partner. Our HAV team exceeded their team target of £750 to reach a fabulous £942. Thank you to all staff, friends, family and
Airlander Club Members who supported them so well.

Stan Stewart, AWB Chairman, said, "Great news again from HAV and a very big thanks to the runners for the their fantastic efforts.  And also a big thank you to all at HAV for sponsoring them. 
Well done and a great result."


To learn more about Aviation Without Borders
see www.aviationwithoutborders.org
or follow @awbsocial

 

Technical Corner

After joining a recent Hard Hat Hangar Tour, Nigel Walsh wrote to us with some excellent thoughts, questions and even praise for our newsletter - thank you!  How the wind impacts on Airlander's speed and operational aspects regularly feature in Q&A sessions, so we thought we would hand over our technical corner this month to Nigel, with Nick Allman, HAV Programme Director providing the answers.

Nigel wrote,
"Something of interest to me is such things as the operational aspect of the vehicle in that its speed is only 80kt and how this would affect operations say within Europe / Atlantic where winds in excess of 50kt at low level are not that unusual during winter. Are there any plans to increase the speed of the vehicle / develop new vehicles which may travel significantly faster. Is there a finite level speed limit  on the design or could you get it significantly faster using the existing shape but providing more power?  I also understand that the theatre of operation is limited by the upperwinds in that area. Wind speeds over and close to even modest size mountains can easily 80kt or more .

Also interested in the mooring capability. I understood the flexibility of the 360 degree 'windvane effect' of a rotating mooring point and always facing into wind, but actually how you would get the vehicle into the hangar if it isn't aligned ? Interesting but very fundamental to the project's success.

Nick Allman, HAV Programme Director responds,
"When we were designing Airlander 10, we had access to average worldwide wind data at different altitudes in order to work out the optimum speed for this vehicle's mission, using simulation techniques. A maximum airspeed of 80knots actually provides significant capability worldwide for 99% of the time. Increasing the vehicle's maximum speed will result in a reduction in its overall efficiency for a number of reasons, for example, we would have to install higher power engines that would only be occasionally needed at their maximum output.

There will be some parts of the world, at some times of year, where we will not operate, but the benefit is that our operating costs will be lower for all our other customers. The 80knots maximum speed is optimum for this size of Airlander. The larger Airlander 50 is designed for a higher cruise speed of 105 knots, this is the optimum for operating costs for this bigger vehicle.

Typically there is an optimum maximum speed for every size of Airlander which trades, size/drag/aerodynamic lift/payload capacity/need to loiter/pitch attitude etc. It’s a complicated mix to balance!

As regards hangar access, Airlander 10 comes complete with dedicated ground equipment that makes ground operation easier with a small team. Hangar access will only be necessary once a year for major maintenance as normal day to day maintenance is done outside. However when we do need to use the hangar we will ensure we have suitable weather conditions.

Typically hangar entry and exit is achieved at dawn, or dusk, when weather conditions are most favourable. It is normally possible to find a lull once a day minimising down time for the Airlander. Our mechanised handling equipment means that 10 minutes can be enough time to complete such an operation (you need to be well prepared though!)." 

2015 SAC competition


The Schools Aerospace Challenge is an annual competition for 16 to 18 year olds, asking teams of future aerospace engineers to answer a potential RAF requirement.  This year, the RAF has asked the competition entrants to design a Surveillance and Heavy Lift Airship.  Their brief was as follows:

The RAF are considering the use of an unmanned multi-role airship to carry bulky and heavy loads and offer an ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) capability. Teams are invited to offer designs that would meet these aims.

As a minimum submissions should address:

 
  • Size, lifting capacity & payload
  • Power plants
  • Cruise speed
  • Control system
  • Launch and recovery site requirements
  • Role equipment and role changes
  • Weather issues
  • Defensive aids options
Out of the 14,000 young people who take part, just 12 teams of 3 or 4 students each were chosen for a 5-day residential course at the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing, Cranfield University, where they learn about aircraft and jet engines, practice freefall parachuting in a wind tunnel and get airborne in the Jetstream flying classroom, plus much more.  All in our office were in awe of the course timetable when we saw it - we were all keen to attend!  And with the world’s leading lighter-than-air manufacturer just down the road, we obviously lent a hand showing these future engineers how to design and build a real Airlander. 

This year's lucky finalists were invited to our Hangar for a tour and presentation as part of their incredible course at Cranfield.  The young people were full of enthusiasm for our project and Chris Daniels, leading the visit, fielded an enthusiastic onslaught of questions. Fortunately, experts were at hand to explain some of the detailed questions, such as “how do you inspect and repair the hull, if necessary?” and “how long does it take to build an Airlander from scratch?” and some great future-thinking questions such as “couldn’t someone create a safe, non-flammable hydrogen by mixing in a small amount of another gas?” 

The short answers to these questions are:

 
  • Inspection is mainly with a high-powered lamp to look for any tiny holes, and repairs are essentially a hi-tech version of a bicycle repair kit.
  • It depends! Around 6 to 12 months once the design is finalised and we’ve got a supply chain in place.
  • Probably!  That’s exactly why we’re spending time inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers, so that the youngsters of today can discover these (and other) useful advances.

Graham Stark from the SAC team, expressed his appreciation for our contribution to their course programme, "Many thanks for all your efforts yesterday - a great visit - and we really appreciate the fact that you hosted us at such an intense time in your activities.  A lot of chatter on the way back in the bus - I think they would have quite happily stayed on for another couple of hours asking you questions!"

Just prior to the SAC visit, two RAF personnel in charge of specialist recruitment toured our Hangar.  Sqn Ldr Pieter Severein said of his visit, “We both felt very privileged to be given an insight into the Project, the journey that you have been through and your visions for the future.  Seeing it partially inflated also really brought home the size, scale and the opportunities that HAV could offer the RAF. However, it was the interest Hybrid Air Vehicles generates when recruiting and the number of applicants you receive in this current climate of a “lack of engineers” that was particularly interesting.”

The three top teams will share a £5000 prize fund at an award ceremony and reception to be held in London at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in November. The winning team will also receive the Schools Aerospace Challenge Trophy presented on an annual basis by Cranfield University.

Author: Chris Daniels
Head of Partnerships and Communications

STEM Fair - 1st July

This was hosted by the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and organised by STEM Team East, part of STEMNET. Barry Robertson, our dedicated STEM Ambassador provided two Airlander workshops for Year 12/13 students on the STEM Careers Day. This provided a tremendous opportunity to inspire students with ‘The Future is Airlander’ against a backdrop of the unique aircraft collection in the AirSpace hangar.

For the benefit of new members joining this month, the aim of our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) outreach programme is to promote the subjects, inspire young people and encourage them to consider STEM-related career pathways into work. Enriching the curriculum with an Airlander theme certainly provides a stimulating approach to STEM by engaging with their studies in new and meaningful ways.

Barry reports, "During the last academic year well over 500 students became aware of Airlander in a STEM context through our talks, workshops and projects. The Airlander mini-projects developed in collaboration with Bedford College were very successful and it is planned to repeat them next year. In-depth study adds considerable value by giving students new insight into how their knowledge and thinking can be applied to real-life scenarios. In a similar way, we are partnering with UTC Cambridge to design and deliver an Airlander Challenge Project to around 60 Year 12 students – more about this in the next edition of the newsletter. All of these activities are part of a broader STEM programme we are developing."

More on these projects can be found at:
http://www.bedford.ac.uk/about/news/2015/july/taking-off-with-airlander

 

Where to find HAV over the next few months

Bedford Royal Aeronautical Society, 9 Sep 2015
RAeS President’s conference, 7 October  
http://aerosociety.com/Events/Event-List/1925/Presidents-Conference-2015
AEG Old Warden, 4 Nov 2015
Dame Ellen Macarthur’s ThinkDIF conference, 2-20 November
https://www.thinkdif.co/
The Advanced Engineering Show, NEC in Birmingham, 4-5 November http://www.advancedengineeringuk.com/  

 

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