Green aviation innovation takes a step forward
A Shropshire aerospace firm has entered into a letter of intent to purchase three hybrid airships as it looks to grow its fleet of aircraft.
Straightline Aviation is aiming to be at the forefront of hybrid airship innovation with plans to purchase a further 12 aircraft to be delivered in the first three years of production.
Following the recently announced transition of assets from Lockheed Martin to AT2 Aerospace, Inc. (AT2), Straightline Aviation will act as lead customer of the AT2 hybrid airship and take delivery of the first aircraft in 2026.
AT2, will also work with Straightline in delivering its round the world, non-stop un-refuelled net zero emissions flight, details of which will be announced later this year.
Straightline has commissioned and operated a fleet of 19 airships and 200 aerostats in more than 35 countries.
Mike Kendrick, Chairman of Straightline and one of 118 Living Legends of Aviation said, “The introduction of the hybrid airship will be transformative for the aviation industry, vastly reducing the cost of moving cargo, massively reducing carbon emissions, and giving access to remote areas since it can land almost anywhere on unprepared areas including grass, water and ice.
“Importantly it opens the way for true zero emission flight, with the RTW non-stop net zero emission program scheduled to begin flight trials in 2025. It’s what the industry and the planet has been waiting for.”
The AT2 hybrid airship, will be certified to carry a minimum of a 21 metric ton payload and up to 19 passengers, capable of domestic and international air cargo operations as well as having the the capability to take off or land in a variety of terrains.
Straightline Aviation CEO, Mark Dorey, commented, “We are delighted to be working with Dr Bob Boyd, former hybrid airship project leader for Lockheed, and the team at AT2 in delivering this much-needed aviation solution to the market.
“The hybrid is unique in its capabilities to solve transport and logistics issues, in particular reaching remote parts of the world that are not served by conventional air transportation. Straightline is working closely with the United Nations to deliver humanitarian services including medical facilities to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of communities that are currently off grid.
“With the hybrid airship’s ability to land anywhere, it eliminates the need for expensive and environmentally damaging airport, road and rail connections providing connectivity in a more sustainable and cost saving manner.”