Showing posts with label Airships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Airships. Show all posts

30 April, 2024

Composites make world's largest airship possible

Composites manufacturer Exel Composites is collaborating with French airship manufacturer and operator FLYING WHALES to develop thin wall carbon fibre tubes for a state-of-the-art airship. The airship will deliver up to sixty tons of cargo to remote and difficult-to-reach locations globally. This will also cut emissions compared to land and air transportation. The composites producer will provide R&D support during the airship's rigid structure prototyping phase, developing and manufacturing the estimated 80km of carbon fibre tubing needed to make this concept a reality.

FLYING WHALES is the designer of the LCA60T, a 200 m-long vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) airship that uses helium lifting technology to lift its weight and cargo capacity. The airship will function like an airborne crane, carrying the cargo and transporting it to the customer, reducing the reliance on air and land transport, and unlocking bottlenecks at shipping ports.

The airship could be used to transport trees when transporting lumber, wind turbine blades to utility stations, and, most surprisingly, an entire portable hospital, aiming to bring universal healthcare to some of the world's most remote areas.

"With this airship being one of the largest ever developed, the frame needs to be able to distribute the structure’s entire load," explained Guillaume Klein, business development manager at Exel Composites. "We are working closely with FLYING WHALES to develop a unique tube that meets the technical requirements and specifications needed to make this project viable. Most aerospace standards don’t cover airships yet, instead focusing on planes and helicopters."

13 June, 2023

FLYING WHALES Joins GIFAS and Reshapes Air Logistics Transportation

Launched in 2012, FLYING WHALES develops a unique program in the world: a rigid airship for heavy loads transportation, named LCA60T. The company, which has already closed 3 rounds of financing, including a €122 million round in 2022, counts prestigious companies and three governments among its shareholders. Its entry into the GIFAS (Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales) StartAir club shows how promising and exciting is this project.

An extraordinary industrial consortium for a unique project

At the end of 2012, an exchange with representatives of the French National Forests Office (ONF) launched the start of this major industrial adventure. The main pain to solve was to increase wood harvesting in isolated regions, while reducing the economic and ecological footprint of this extraction. It’s how the idea of a cargo airship capable of hovering, loading and unloading dozens of tons of wood without landing was born.

During three years, studies were made that validated the technical, industrial, economic and regulatory relevance of the model. Then it was time to look for financing. An initial fundraising of 10 million euros in 2017 gave rise to an industrial consortium. About 50 companies of all sizes gradually joined this consortium, including corporates such as Thales, Safran and, more recently, Honeywell. In terms of capital, institutions such as the ONF and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region joined the project.

In 2019, a second round of financing, worth 30 million euros, brought in the Quebec government, and corporates such as ADP Group, Air Liquide, Bouygues and others... The team expanded and set up strong industrial partnerships. In June 2022, FLYING WHALES raised 122 million euros. France and Monaco joined the venture, along with Société Générale Insurance and other private investors.

17 December, 2022

H3 Dynamics adds hydrogen-electric propulsion to unmanned airships of HyLight

First successful hydrogen-powered airship flight took place in Milan, Italy

H3 Dynamics and HyLight have joined forces to bring new long range, sustainable and quiet unmanned airships to a range of commercial applications. Traditionally, airships use combustion engines for their propulsion power. With new hydrogen propulsion system developments at H3 Dynamics, HyLight’s new breed of airships will now offer long-range zero emission flight and open a whole new category in air mobility. The two companies share a common goal, to decarbonize the aerial industry.

Hydrogen-electric airships can fly or hover quietly for days, with zero C02 emissions

HyLight and H3 Dynamics started working together several months ago in France, and HyLight have now achieved a first successful hydrogen-electric flight test campaign in Milan, Italy. HyLight is an up and coming french start-up and one of the very few companies in the world that was able to demonstrate hydrogen as a viable power supply for small unmanned airships in real conditions. This was made possible with H3 Dynamics’ aerospace-grade hydrogen fuel cells - the smallest and lightest in the world - have pioneered hydrogen flight research from as early 2006.

HyLight’s unmanned airships move slowly but don’t need to consume any power to stay aloft. They can operate for days at a time with heavier payloads compared to conventional drones, to conduct long range inspection of critical energy assets like power-lines & pipelines or scan industrial infrastructure over long distances. Airships could also hover around specific areas to provide critical connectivity for large scale industrial sites - or provide vital communications after a natural disaster.

Based in Toulouse, H3 Dynamics is set on decarbonizing air mobility with clean hydrogen-electric propulsion, starting with enabling smaller unmanned systems - whether fixed wing, multi-rotor or VTOL platforms. Its ultra-light power technology is bringing new long electric flight durations to the global unmanned aviation market, which is set to reach $38 Billion by 2027.

Earlier this year H3 Dynamics flew the world’s first distributed hydrogen-electric nacelles on a small unmanned platform, proving the potential for larger size systems in bigger aircraft. H3 Dynamics has since become part of the “Toulouse Pioneers” group linked to the Aerospace History Museum “L’Envol des Pionniers”. The company plans to scale its solutions to larger unmanned and manned aviation platforms over the coming years.

HyLight will leverage H3 Dynamics’ international presence covering Europe, North and South America as well as Asia and Australia to bring “made in France” hydrogen-electric airships to the global market.