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B08 - Airship Flight Test Development at ATG Cardington

The three major products currently under design, test and development at ATG Cardington are:

i) The SkyCat hybrid lifting body vehicle. The hull shape enables this aircraft to operate at a vastly greater heaviness range than is possible with conventional airships. Also the air cushion landing system allows operation from both land and water and the bow thruster and ducted thrust greatly enhance the ground handling characteristics of the vehicle.

ii). The StratSat telecommunications platform. This neutrally buoyant airship is designed to remain 'on station' at stratospheric height for periods up to five years. A novel feature of this vehicle is that control is provided solely by vectored thrust from the rear mounted propulsor, rather than conventional ruddervators.

iii) The AT-10 Airship. An airship of conventional form which incorporates the advanced features of vectored thrust and a 'fly by light' flight control system. The vehicle is diesel powered and promises significant gains in fuel economy. Previous ATG project experience has demonstrated that it is cost effective to obtain  nformation from flight tests on scale models of design concepts. Accordingly both SkyCat and StratSat vehicles have been flight tested at model scale. The SkyCat model, SkyKitten provided valuable performance, flying qualities and handling qualities data and proved the hovercraft landing system and bow thruster concepts. A larger model, SkyKitten 2, will be used in further performance, handling, and systems flight testing. The StratSat model test programme has enabled the flying qualities to besignificantly improved from the original design. A further test programme is planned to systematically assess the vehicle performance and stability and control characteristics. Initial test flights on the AT-10 airship have demonstrated the excellent flying qualities of the craft and that performance may prove superior to design estimates. Test flying for CAA Certification is ongoing.

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