Airlander The Talk of the Sky at Aviators’ Circle Lunch

Airlander is the biggest Aerospace story since Concorde. In 2016, Airlander will take its first flight, and in doing so, she will become a global superstar of the skies.

Chris Daniels, Head of Partnerships and Communications at Hybrid Air Vehicles who have built the Airlander came to Phyllis Court Members Club last week to the talk at the Aviators’ Circle lunch which was attended by over 70 members.

The Airlander is the largest aircraft currently flying uses innovative technology to combine the best characteristics of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with lighter-than-air technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft. It can stay airborne for up to five days at a time if manned, and for over 2 weeks unmanned. It will fulfil a wide range of communication, cargo carrying and survey roles in both the military and commercial sectors all with a significantly lower carbon footprint than other forms of air transport.

Chris talked about the history of the British owned company, how the Airlander was built with the prototype costing £150m funded by the US tax payer for a US army contract before being bought back to the UK for a bargain price of £18m. He then went on to talk about the flight test programme and what the passenger experience will be.  He said, “Sixty passengers will be able to fly on the Airlander in the future in seating not dissimilar to the lounge here at the club.  There will be zero noise and vibration and passengers will be able to enjoy fresh air too through the floor to ceiling windows.  It will give you fantastic experience without the speed.”

Another great use Chris told us that the people of Henley could definitely relate to was, “The police in Henley could use it over Regatta for the whole week without refuelling to monitor the traffic!”

Richard Miller who organises the speakers for the Aviators’ Circle said, “We were delighted to have Chris come along talk about the Airlander.  This is the biggest and most exciting aircraft programme and right at the threshold.  It’s absolutely wonderful. I don’t know how I am going to top this.”