Hybrid Air Vehicle receives €2.5 million in EU funding

€2.5 million grant awarded to Hybrid Air Vehicles by the EU for new, low carbon alternative to conventional air travel.

This grant is another award for Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), which also recently received £3.4million from the Regional Growth Fund and £2.5million from Innovate UK as well as money from Crowdcube.com.

The money from Europe is being used by HAV to develop a framework for regulation for this kind of vehicle, called Airlander, alongside the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Currently the technology is specified and certified as a military technology, so there needs to be new legislation in place to make it ready for civil use.

The Airlander Civil Exploitation Project (ACEP) will undertake this work, to create an aircraft for civilian use, regulations and a regulator to allow orders to be made for the aircraft.

During the 90 minute maiden voyage in 2012.
During the 90 minute maiden voyage in 2012.

The grant from Innovate UK and a group of private investors was to aid HAV in creating prototypes and better the technologies needed for the Airlander. HAV are using this money to develop the project alongside other British manufacturers such as, Forward Composites, avionics experts Bluebear Systems and Cranfield, Liverpool and Sheffield Universities.

HAV has also turned to crowdfunding, via CrowdCube.com, in order to raise an additional £2 million in order to get the current model back in to the air and are using the hash tag #PrepareForTakeOff to gain more traction on social media. The company has currently raised around £300,000 to date.

Hybrid Air Vehicles has around 150 shareholder who have collectively invested over £9 million in the company since 2007. The UK Government has also given over £5 million in grants along with over £60 million of investment in the aircraft from the US government.

The vehicle uses vectored thrust and inert lifting gas to manoeuvre, the company believe that this method burns a third of the fuel it takes for conventional air travel and is also easier to land because it does not require a runway.

The Airlander started life as a US Army programme and recorded its first test flight in 2012. Due to government cut back, the programme stopped development before it was purchased by HAV. The prototype was then dismantled and transported back to the UK for further development.

Stephen McGlennan, HAV’s CEO said: “We are the market leaders of an independently validated $50 billion market.  We’re offering a chance for investors to jump on board and be part of our journey as we prepare for take-off.”