Motor for composite airship

Collins Aerospace says that it has made a working prototype of 500 kilowatt electric motor for the Airlander 10 airship.

The Airlander, made by Hybrid Air Vehicles, features reinforced fiber structures, engines, and avionics, according to the company, while the motor uses “a novel motor topology and composite construction”.

Airlander 10 is scheduled to begin hybrid-electric operation in 2026, followed by all-electric, zero-emission operation in 2030. Plans are to replace the aircraft’s four fuel-burning engines with Collins’ 500 kilowatt electric motors. According to Collins, Airlander could be the first large scale aircraft – capable of carrying up to 100 passengers or 10 tonnes – to achieve zero emissions flight.

“With a goal of becoming the world’s first zero-emission aircraft, Airlander 10 is blazing a trail in the development of sustainable electric propulsion systems,” said Marc Holme, senior director, at Collins Aerospace.

“The development of electric motors for Airlander 10, with Collins Aerospace and the University of Nottingham, is a crucial part of our pathway towards a future of passenger and freight transport that produces zero emissions,” said Tom Grundy, CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles.

“This important project milestone demonstrates innovative technology from the UK that will deliver critical capability for the electrification of aviation,” said Mark Scully, head of technology for advanced systems & propulsion at the Aerospace Technology Institute.