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Airlander assembly complete

News International-French

30 Mar 2016

Hybrid Air Vehicles is delighted to announce the completion of final assembly of the Airlander.

Having formally kicked off the Return to Flight programme on 5 May 2015, they are pleased to announce that assembly of the Airlander is now complete, on time and on budget. They also reveal the multi-use Cabin, which will permit demonstrations of the wide range of roles the Airlander can undertake, including surveillance, monitoring, communications, cargo and aid delivery, and passenger roles.

The Airlander now enters into a ground testing phase before roll-out of the Hangar and First Flight. "I’m extremely excited and looking forward to taking Airlander on what I’m sure will be a very successful First Flight," says Chief Test Pilot, David Burns. Hybrid Air Vehicles isn’t announcing a date for First Flight at this stage, and they will fly when the all ground testing is complete and Airlander is ready to fly. The First Flight will be from and to Cardington Air Field, near Bedford. The remainder of 2016 will see an extensive Flight Test Programme consisting of 200 hours of test flights over a number of months, then a series of trials and demonstrations with prospective customers.

They are proud to be a British company with 80% of their supply chain based in the UK. They are recognising that with the launch of their involvement in the UK Government’s GREAT Britain Campaign. This is a global campaign to promote British excellence around the world and will help them to promote the Airlander to a truly global audience. "We are delighted to be part of the GREAT Britain Campaign. 80% of Airlander's supply chain is British. We are proud to be part of a number of British Companies highlighted by this campaign," says Hybrid Air Vehicles’ CEO Stephen McGlennan.

It’s also recognised by the suppliers who have gone the extra mile in supporting them and adding their logos to the Hull. Specifically, their Composite Partner Forward Composites has worked extensively with them on many aspects of the Aircraft and whose work is so evident today with the first public viewing of the Cabin. The technology they are developing in light weight, super strong composite materials is helping them to change the future of aircraft production. Other initial sponsors are AV Optics, BOC, Finmeccanica, Scotland Electronics and Vector Informatik GmbH.

On 5 May 2015, Hybrid Air Vehicles concluded a record-breaking £2.1million crowdfunding which together with a UK Government grant and an EU Horizon 2020 grant for highly innovative SMEs permitted them to achieve the following over the last 10 months:

  • Hiring almost 100 employees. HAV now have a workforce of 120 developing this exciting technology
  • Securing many supply chain deals, spending over £6 million with suppliers, securing additional UK jobs and growth
  • Assembling and documenting the build of the Airlander, in conjunction with the European Aviation regulators, EASA

Subject to limited availability, Hybrid Air Vehicles will offer an opportunity immediately after Easter for a crowdfunding investment via the UK’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube.

Hybrid Air Vehicles’ existing shareholders include PLC Chairmen, Business Angels and Professional Investors. The company currently has around 1000 shareholders who collectively have invested over £17.5 million of equity and debt in the company since its formation in 2007. HAV has benefited from over £60 million of investment in the aircraft from the US Government and approximately £7 million of EU and UK Government grants.

Hybrid Air Vehicles has been awarded €2.5 million in funding from the EU's research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. The Airlander project was selected for 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.

Airlanders are low noise, low pollution, and are environmentally-friendly. They have ultra-long endurance, and a point-to-point cargo-carrying capacity. They can take off and land in a short distance from unprepared sites in desert, ice, water, or open field environments.

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