Hybrid Air Vehicle’ Airlander
EASA grants Design Organisation Approval
One of Generation’s Most Innovative Aircraft
EASA has granted a Design Organisation Approval (DOA) to Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) to start flight testing airships for type certification. This approval sets in motion a process on the way to one of the most innovative aircraft of this generation.
It will be hybrid airship using “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. 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.”
EASA has established a procedure requiring Hybrid and others seeking a DOA. It begins with a Initial Investigation process. A DOA Team Leader (DOATL) will be appointed to lead the investigation. First, a Kick-off meeting, preferably at the Agency will be held. The investigation process will delve into account specific characteristics of the company. Hybrid described the design organization ( the applicant’s technical assets, prior design project experience). Hybrid was expected to present a DOA handbook then.
The DOATL formed a DOA Team (DOAT) so that all relevant fields of expertise are available to conduct the investigation. Hybrid’s multiple technical challenges –its unique hull lifting, its internal structure which retains its aerodynamic shape due to the pressure stabilization, the use of helium inside the hull, Vectran material for the skin of the hull, and state-of-the-art carbon composites. Likely these are not off-the shelf skills found in the EASA’s Part 21 human inventory.
The DOAT examined Hybrid on both macro and micro levels. Hybrid’s process description documentation was carefully audited and then its facilities capabilities and organizational processes will be assessed for their ability to comply with the standards set in the paperwork.
EASA’s issuance of a DOA to Hybrid is a recognition that the UK company has the requisite competence to manage the design and certification of the Airlander. Hybrid can establish the test parameters and a full flight test program towards the type certification of its Airlander 10. The company has previously operated the prototype Airlander under temporary permission from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and EASA.
Issuance of this type of authority is not novel; both FAA and EASA have designated organizations to exercise these privileges in the certification of more traditional technology. With so many innovation elements, EASA must have a high level of confidence of the UK company!
 Wonder if the BREXIT possibility has been included in the plan. Note: Hybrid has funding from the EU Horizon 2020 Fund- https://www.hybridairvehicles.com/about-us/invest-in-us.
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