June 8, 2021
You remember the Hindenberg. That didn’t go so well.
But don’t fret. Hybrid Air Vehicles is on the brink of bringing helium-filled dirigibles back to commercial aviation. And the new ones are safe, sleek, luxurious and far greener than jets.
HAV says that it is within 4 years of the first planned commercial flight of its hybrid-electric airship that produces 75% fewer emissions per mile traveled than a passenger jet. Designed for short-hops on common business routes (think Seattle-to Vancouver, Oslo-to-Stockholm or Liverpool-to-Belfast), the ships fly at lower altitudes than jets, so the cabins are unpressurized and very quiet and, with floor-to-ceiling windows, every passenger gets an unimpeded views of the world below and beyond (you can take a peek at the cabin here).
According to HAV, a commercial aircraft from Seattle to Vancouver generates 55 kilograms of CO2 per passenger, while their Airlander-10 model drops that number to about 4.12kgs, which is less even than rail travel. And since the craft takes off and lands vertically, it doesn’t require additional infrastructure such as runways or rail lines.
One of the investors in this initiative is Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer for Iron Maiden (and a licensed pilot who flies the band’s personal Boeing 757). “I’m not expecting to get my money back anytime soon, I just want to be part of it,” Bruce told the New Yorker. ”Being a rock person, I could put it up my nose, or buy a million Rolls Royces and drive them into swimming pools, or I could do something useful. There are very few times in your life when you’re going to be part of something big.”
This could be big.