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Zero-Carbon ‘Airlander’ That Flies With Helium Could Be The Future Of Aviation
By Ell Ko, 20 Jul 2021
Image via Hybrid Air Vehicles
“An aircraft that's sustainable, capable, flexible, and cost-effective,” English company Hybrid Air Vehicles details of its latest aircraft, the Airlander 10.
With a 20,000-foot maximum altitude and the ability to remain airborne for five days, its functions include “bringing travelers to some of the wildest places on Earth” and “delivering equipment to remote mining operations and communities, or disaster-affected areas.”
The Airlander 10 is a new type of hybrid vehicle, with flight powered largely by helium and its buoyant properties. The use of helium reduces fuel burn too, making it much better for the environment.
Right now, it’s still a combination of electric and fuel-burning engines. But already, the Airlander 10 boasts up to a 75% reduction of carbon emissions compared with traditional modes of air travel, with the goal to bring this to 100% by the time 2030 rolls around.
Four engines are used in the aircraft, but on a flight, the forward two are shut down, reducing noise and fuel usage. But don’t fret; the aircraft is capable of landing with any two of the four. Since it doesn’t rely on a sole engine, this does make it safer than most other aircrafts, which do.
It’s not just cool on the outside, and a recent announcement reveals the cushy cabin design. It’s an airy, comfortable 100-seat space with plush armchairs, and offers a joyful amount of legroom and luxurious floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the view from—no more cramped aisleways and tiny cabin windows.
“On Airlander, the whole experience is pleasant, even enjoyable,” states George Land, commercial business development director, in the announcement. “And in the hybrid-electric and future all-electric configurations, Airlander is fit for our decarbonised future.”
This experience isn’t all that far away, either. The company has already scheduled city-hopping routes for 2025. They include Liverpool to Belfast in five hours and 20 minutes, Oslo to Stockholm in six and a half hours, and Seattle to Vancouver in a little more than four hours.
[via My Modern Met, images via Hybrid Air Vehicles]
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