Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has revealed the cabin concepts for its helium-filled airship – Airlander 10. The airship is designed to fly regional routes with incredibly low CO2 emissions, and is hoped to enter service in 2025.
Low carbon regional flying
With a growing impetus for transport companies to provide more environmentally friendly means of travel. In France, for example, the state has mandated that short, domestic trips by air are replaced by train service where possible. But in places where a train is not possible, such as across water or mountainous terrain, it’s hard to find a suitable alternative to a regional flight.
Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) believes it has the answer. Its Airlander 10 airship is capable of flying up to 100 passengers at speeds of 80 miles per hour (130 km per hour). It uses a combination of lift provided by the large helium-filled body, and propulsion from the hybrid electric motor.
This gives the Airlander 10 a range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km), although the craft can stay airborne for up to five days. The company says that the Airlander will create significant efficiency in flight, reducing CO2 emissions on equivalent journeys conducted by aircraft by some 75%.
For example, on a route between Seattle and Vancouver, an aircraft would emit some 53 kg of CO2 per passenger. The Airlander, although it would take around an hour longer to get there, would reduce this to just 4.6 kg of CO2 per passenger. The company claims it is even more carbon-efficient than trains and cars.
Of course, such a radically different aircraft presents some interesting opportunities for very different cabin designs. Flying at just 20,000 feet and at much slower speeds reduces the need for airtight, pressurized cabins, allowing the company to be somewhat more creative with its interior concept. This week, HAV revealed just what the experience on the Airlander could be like. Let’s take a look.
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Inside the Airlander
The Airlander 10 is designed to seat up to 100 passengers. The concepts released by HAV so far look into a less dense configuration, but both are a world away from the cramped conditions most of us experience on regional and short-haul flights.
The 90 seat passenger cabin concept features a twin-aisle design, with a 1-2-1 layout. The seats are wide, demonstrating just how much real estate is available to play with on the Airlander.
With the aircraft traveling much slower and being capable of landing on any surface (including water), the cabin is not constrained to having seats facing forwards. As such, some seats are in face-to-face groups or pairs, allowing for a more lounge-like experience.
In the more luxurious 72 passenger cabin concept, seats are angled towards the window with walking spaces not just in the aisles but also across the cabin. Seats appear to have infinite amounts of legroom, and there are ottomans at every seat, presumably for a friend to sit on or so you can put your feet up.
Most intriguing of all are the glorious floor-to-ceiling windows. With no requirements for a heavily pressurized cabin, big swathes of glass are possible, the likes of which would never be feasible on a commercial jet. At the 20,000 feet altitude, the Airlander will give passengers never before seen vistas of the cities and countryside as they fly over.
George Land, commercial business development director at HAV, commented that,
“For many decades flying from A to B has meant sitting in a metal tube with tiny windows – a necessity but not always a pleasure. On Airlander, the whole experience is pleasant, even enjoyable. And in the hybrid-electric and future all-electric configurations, Airlander is fit for our decarbonized future.”
Although the cabin concept is just a design at this stage, the company says it has factored in plenty of practical considerations to ensure it’s a feasible concept. HAV intends to have its first hybrid electric Airlander ready to enter service by 2025, and is seeking to develop an all-electric version by 2030.
Would you like to fly in this airship? Let us know in the comments.