Flying Whales is designing the LCA60T – a 200-meter-long vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) airship using helium technology to lift its weight and cargo.

The airship can transport up to sixty tons of cargo to customers, including transporting trees for lumber in construction projects, wind turbine blades to utility stations, and even a portable hospital to provide healthcare in remote areas. Direct transport will not only reduce traffic in crowded shipping ports and alleviate reliance on traditional air and land transportation but also cut emissions when compared to those modes of transportation.

Exel Composites is partnering with Flying Whales to support research and development of the thin wall carbon fiber tubes needed to make the airship. It is estimated that 80km of carbon fiber tubing will be required and Exel can provide the volume required of this unique component. The tubes will be pull-wound in a continuous manufacturing process, increasing volume output, and assuring consistent fiber placement and density.

“With this airship being one of the largest ever developed, the frame needs to be able to distribute the structure’s entire load,” said Guillaume Klein, business development manager at Exel Composites. “We are working closely with Flying Whales to develop a unique tube that meets the technical requirements and specifications needed to make this project viable. Most aerospace standards don’t cover airships yet, instead focusing on planes and helicopters.”

“We needed both a supplier of pull-wound carbon fiber tubes and an R&D partner with an understanding of aerospace standards and applications to help bring our vision to life. Exel provided us with both,” added Vincent Guibout, CEO of Flying Whales.