PHOENIX - Flying Whales, a Franco-Canadian airship company based in Suresnes, France, have announced that the company has selected Honeywell’s 1-megawatt generator for its new hybrid-electric airship, the LCA60T. Both companies signed a contract for the integration and supply of Honeywell’s 1-megawatt generator. Flying Whales is developing the 200-meter-long vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft for the heavy load transport market.
The high-power density and efficiency of Honeywell’s 1-megawatt generator system allows it to integrate smoothly with propulsion and operational systems for piloted or autonomous aircraft. It can also be used as a 1-megawatt motor without modifications for electric propulsion engines. Aboard the LCA60T, the 1-megawatt generator will create a hybrid propulsion system by being integrated with a gearbox and a turbine that uses jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The Honeywell generator will supply electrical power to the electric engines, thereby creating a more efficient and sustainable form of travel — similar to the way hybrid-electric automobiles function.
The LCA60T is a heavy-duty rigid airship with a 60-ton payload capacity. It is 200 meters (m) long with a 96m by 8m by 7m high cargo bay supported by 10 nonpressurized helium cells. It is powered by a 4-megawatt hybrid electric propulsion chain. Like all aircraft, the LCA60T will be certified to ensure maximum operating safety. Originally designed to transport renewable wood resources from hard-to-access areas, LCA60T’s unique stationary hovering design for loading and unloading is ideal for overcoming numerous logistical and technical problems in remote areas, and it has a remarkably low environmental footprint. This solution overcomes all ground constraints to transport large and heavy loads at a low cost. Flying Whales intends to fly the first LCA60T in 2025 and plans to manufacture 150 aircraft in the next 10 years.
In May 2022, Honeywell announced that the 1-megawatt generator had successfully completed its first round of testing. During the latest round of testing late in 2022, the megawatt generator operated at 1.06 MVA (1MW) power levels. The test demonstration ran continuously at 1,000 kilowatts, highlighting the megawatt generator’s high-power density (~8kw/kg) and efficiency (~97%), which are key enablers in hybrid-electric propulsion for both aerospace and ground applications.