November 19 - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Lockheed Martin's project specific certification plan for the hybrid airship.
Given that hybrid airships did not fit within existing FAA regulations, Lockheed Martin has created a new set of criteria allowing non-rigid hybrid airships to safely operate in a commercial capacity. Transport Canada was involved in the development of these criteria to ensure safety concerns unique to Canada were included.
Lockheed Martin and the FAA have been working together for more than a decade to define the criteria to certify hybrid airships for the transport category. The FAA approved these criteria in April 2013.
Since that approval, Lockheed Martin has been developing the project specific certification plan, which details how it will accomplish everything outlined in the hybrid certification criteria.
"The approval of the certification plan represents an important risk reduction milestone for our customers," said programme manager, Dr. Robert Boyd. "Completing this step took dedication from both the Lockheed Martin system experts and the FAA, who worked meticulously through thousands of detailed items to achieve consistent and accurate verification statements covering the entire aircraft."
According to Lockheed Martin, hybrid airships can affordably transport heavy cargo to and from remote locations due to their unique shape and air cushion landing system. They require little to no fixed ground infrastructure and burn significantly less fuel compared to conventional aircraft making them an environmentally friendly solution for remote cargo delivery, added the company.
Earlier this year Lockheed Martin, along with Hybrid Enterprises, kicked off sales for the 20-tonne variety of the hybrid airship. The delivery of operational airships is on track for as early as 2018.
Watch a video about Lockheed Martin's hybrid airship below: