Flying Whales cargo airship picks Honeywell generator


French-Canadian company Flying Whales has selected Honeywell’s 1 megawatt generator to provide power for the massive cargo-carrying airship it is developing.

Flying Whales was founded in 2012 in France and is developing the 200m (650ft) long LCA60T for the heavy load transport market. Initial applications put forward by the firm for the hybrid-electric airship, which will have a 60-tonne payload capacity include for transportation in the logging industry.

The heavy-duty rigid airship will have a 96m x 8m x 7m (315ft x 26ft x 22ft) high cargo bay supported by 10 nonpressurized helium cells. It is powered by a 4MW hybrid-electric powertrain.

Flying Whales intends to fly the first LCA60T in 2025 and plans to manufacture 150 aircraft in the next 10 years.

Aboard the LCA60T, the 1MW 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 to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the airship.

Dave Marinick, president of engines and power systems at Honeywell Aerospace said, “Our 1MW generator is a perfect fit for a transformational aircraft like the LCA60T. It is four times as powerful as any other generator flying today and at unmatched power density.

“We believe in creating a more sustainable future for aviation, and our work with Flying Whales is helping bring that future to life.”

Honeywell’s 1MW generator completed its first round of testing in May 2022. 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 1,000kW, highlighting the megawatt generator’s high-power density of around 8kw/kg) and efficiency of around 97%, important characteristics in hybrid-electric propulsion for aerospace applications.


Honeywell’s 1MW generator (Image: Honeywell)

Arnaud Thioulouse, CEO of Flying Whales Quebec said, “This important collaboration completes and strengthens our Canadian consortium to develop and manufacture our high-power turbogenerator. Today, we are building in Canada the expertise and technological advancements for tomorrow’s aeronautics.

Quebec made a CAD$55 million investment into Flying Whales last July after a subsidiary was created in the Canadian province in the 2021.

Flying Whales is one of several companies developing airships around the world (read about them here) for both commercial passenger and cargo, telecommunications and defense applications, enabled by the use of new materials and power and propulsion systems. These include companies such as Hybrid Air Vehicles in the UK, Thales in France and LTA Research in the US,

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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