UK company Hybrid Air Vehicles, an aeronautics company with current notable investors such as Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, unveiled it’s new aircraft the HAV 304 dubbed the “Airlander” on Friday in Cardington, England.
The blimp-like hybrid craft is as long as a football field, and relies on helium, rotors, and aerodynamic design to stay aloft. This model is designed to haul 11 tons, stay in the air for up to 3 weeks at a time without refueling, and to be able to land on virtually any flat surface, including water, ice, and sand.
The company is also developing a larger version for transporting passengers and up to 50 tons of cargo, due out in 2016.
The initial 500 million dollar devlopement funds came from a US army contract that has since been canceled due to budget cuts. (Does this mean Americans get breaks on the ticket costs? Of course not, tax dollars are lost for less noble causes though, I suppose….)
The company has hopes of using their craft for humanitarian aid purposes, but as history shows, I’m sure that these will find their way back to their originally intended destiny, as intelligence headquarters.
Personally, I think as long as they don’t find some way to pull a Hindenburg, this company could have a chance in the market of short range travel.