HAV 366 Size: 358 feet long Maxi MuM payload: 50 tons RequiRed takeoff length: 1,432 feet detailS aRe Specific to the haV 366, which iS deSigned foR caRgo. takeoff lengthS aRe foR fully loaded VehicleS. the haV’s hovercraft system usually pushes the ship upward. But when the system’s direction is reversed, the ship is pulled do wn to earth. if the vessel is carrying less than 25 tons, it lands like a helicopter, mov- ing straight down to the ground. hov Er cr a f t
after the zeppelin,
another gas giant arises.
by rachel Z. arNDT
cotton and linen
used for the Hindenburg ’s exterior
proved highly flammable. the haV’s
skin is made from a
tough, resilient fabric that can last up
to 15 years.
Hybrid Air Vehicles’ new aircraft is
not technically a blimp. Nor is it a
zeppelin, a craft that saw its end with
the Hindenburg explosion in 1937
(and a rebirth, of sorts, in the proto-heavy-metal band’s name). But it’s
at least a little of both—a (fittingly)
“hybrid air vehicle,” or HAV, a mix
of airplane, airship, and hovercraft.
Hybrid Air Vehicles is attracting
business by offering surveillance
models (which can fly nonstop for
weeks) as well as cargo models
(which can tote up to 200 tons). Military contractor Northrop Grumman
recently inked a $517 million deal
with the firm for its surveillance vehicles, which Northrop will develop
for military deployment. Meanwhile,
HAV’s cargo ships, which the company says are cheaper than comparable airplanes, will debut in
northern Canada, where Discovery
Air has agreed to pay $3.3 billion for
as many as 45 ships outfitted for oil
and mining transport.
in the early 20th century, dirigibles were
guided by ground
crews and docked at
giant mooring masts.
thanks to their ability to fly like airplanes—and to land
almost anywhere, including on water—
haVs can serve as
landing in empty
parking lots to ferry
hundreds (or thousands) of passengers.
the haV is filled with helium, which
is lighter than air and generates
60% of the vessel’s lift. the hull
pressure is nearly the same as the
air outside, so if you poke a hole
through it, the gas inside doesn’t
come hissing out.
Who Needs a
Boeing 767-300 freighter
Size: 180 feet 3 inches long
Maxi Mu M payload: 58 tons
RequiRed takeoff length: 9,300 feet