Luke Brooke worked with Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Projects division (“The Skunk Works”) on their Hybrid Air Vehicle programme in the 1990s, developing designs, operational concepts and plans for a range of heavy lift cargo carrying hybrid air vehicles (those both using buoyant lift and aerodynamic lift). A number of novel unproven concepts and technologies were developed during this programme, which included the multi-lobe lifting body form hull, hull mounted vectored thrust propulsors, and the hover pad landing provisions – these known as the Air Cushion Landing System, or ACLS. As the design developed and the project progressed, Lockheed decided to build a proof of concept demonstrator for this system, to trial these concepts, and to provide baseline data, both flight performance and technical information, and direct information regarding feasible timescales and costs.
Luke was the senior external contractor on the envelope/hull fabric structure aspects of this project, and responsible for coordination between the LM design team, the UK-based FE analysis and patterning effort undertaken by Tensys, and the envelope manufacturer, TCOM LP. Luke was also a partner in the UK-based ACLS Ltd., which designed and built the hover landing pads, so was heavily involved in the design and integration of these systems, their physical and functional interfaces, and the planning and scheduling of all the aspects of the associated efforts.
By working with Luke, the client was able to:
Among the ‘firsts’ for this demonstrator effort were:
The vehicle completed its flight test programme successfully, and is retained by LM as a demonstration and marketing tool.