Chinese home-made airship AS700 to take off within 2021: AVIC
Published: Mar 04, 2021 11:55 AM
AS700 airship  Photo: Courtesy of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Special Vehicle Research Institute

AS700 airship Photo: Courtesy of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Special Vehicle Research Institute

China's domestically made airship AS700 that can shorten airship manufacturing tech distance with foreign countries and improve Chinese aerostat competition, will take off in the second half of 2021, according to Zhang Jinhua, senior engineer of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)'s Special Vehicle Research Institute. 

Zhang, a deputy of National People' Congress (NPC), told the Global Times on Thursday that AS700 can hold at most nine passengers to reach the maximum range and flight time of 700 kilometers and travel uninterrupted for 10 hours, which can meet the requirement of China's and international requirement of low altitude tourism.

"Different from plane, airship can take off independently without runway," Wang Yanan, chief editor of Beijing-based Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

He noted that the buoyancy of filled gas can lift the airship which does not need wings in addition to matching the correspondence between fly speed and lift force, which is much more economical and safer than plane.

According to Zhang, the AS700 uses polymer materials as the surface of the airbags. A helium safety valve can also ensure the airship can land on the ground safely even if the engines and operation system fail. 

"The integration of different parts when manufacturing airship is a challenge needed to be overcome," said Wang. He said the manufacturing of airship need to put soft and hard material together and make airship to have resistance against rainy, snowy and windy weather and last for five to ten years.

"Besides making sure the performance and safety of airship can meet the regulatory requirement, the abilities of airship operation department also need to be enhanced and rectified," said Wang. 

Zhang introduced that the single seats design and wide-opened windows of AS700 provide maximum of nine passengers with a unique viewing experience. Multifunctional life facilities can also be equipped in the cabin of AS700 to meet various market demands.

Wang added that airship will have significant application within the tourism industry such as sightseeing and short-distance flight due to its low-cost and its safety features. "The airship can also be used in geological exploration, patrols and aerospace photograph because it can float at a position for a long time,"said Wang. 

Wang stressed that airship may become part of the future of the global logistics industry. "In the future, a large airship can load thousands of tons of cargo and travel across continents without human operated, whose cost is much less than using cruisers,"said Wang. 

"The plan of making AS700 was set on June 2018 and research and development started in August that year," said Zhang. He estimated that the market will demand nearly 100 airships in next 10 years. "According to the development of China's tourism and aviation industry, the estimation is likely to be realized," said Wang.