Supporting high-flying local business
On 24 April, Geoffrey visited a world-leading company based in Bedfordshire – Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) – to learn of their innovation first hand. Cardington-based HAV is at the forefront of next generation of “lighter-than-air craft”, and currently own the world’s longest aircraft, housed in Britain’s biggest aircraft hangar.
The 302 ft long hybrid airship, named Airlander, combines the best of the characteristics of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter-than-air technology, creating a new form of hyper-efficient aircraft. It also has a significantly lower carbon footprint than other forms of air transport.
The HAV long-endurance model can stay airborne, manned for 5 days at a time – providing a stable platform for communications, geological surveys and surveillance. A heavy-lift prototype will be able to transport 50 tonnes of equipment to any area in the world - landing on water, ice and desert as well as more traditional surfaces, giving it important aid and disaster-relief functions.
Geoffrey commented: “This is innovative British design and development with a wide range of capabilities from heavy lift to aerial surveillance and communications.
“HAV is now in the process of raising up to £10 million to take the programme through to its first UK flight – expected by the end of this year. One possible source of funding is the East of England’s Low Carbon Innovation Fund, and I am proud to support that bid.
“Employing about 20 people locally at the moment, this company has the potential to be a significant employer in the years ahead."
- To find out more about Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd, see here: http://www.hybridairvehicles.com
- To find out more about the East of England’s Low Carbon Innovation Fund, see here: https://www.lowcarbonfund.co.uk/LCIF/Index.action