'Airshows and STEM education are imperative' says Hybrid Air Vehicles CEO Tom Grundy

  • 22nd Nov 2023

Speaking from their Bedfordshire base, Hybrid Air Vehicles Chief Executive Officer, Tom Grundy, highlighted the importance of airshows and STEM education as they embark on the next phase in their development.

Founded in 2007, the British business currently operates with just under 70 staff members, with that set to increase dramatically in the next few years as they begin production on their innovative aircraft that is set to ‘Rethink the Skies’.

Introducing, Airlander.

Capable of taking off or landing on any relatively flat surface, including grass, tarmac or water, and transporting large quantities of freight or passengers, all whilst reducing emissions by up to 90%. The Airlander 10 production programme, due to be based in South Yorkshire, will create 1600 jobs across the UK.

Earlier this year the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) announced they were going into partnership with the Bedfordshire based business, with Airlander 10 set to debut at the event in the summer of 2027.

Growing up in Herefordshire, Tom, was a frequent visitor to airshows including RIAT and Cosford and acknowledges it was at those events where his interest in aviation was sparked.

Because of this, he believes that airshows will play a pivotal role in both recruiting the aviators of tomorrow and showcasing the latest developments in sustainable aviation.

“Airshows are a really important part of getting the capabilities of any aircraft across,” he said.

“Seeing is believing and having aircraft there at an airshow for people to understand and engage with is crucial.

“There is another thing though, airshows are what got me into aerospace. They got me into my career of developing and flying planes all around the world.

“Airshows are so important for letting people in on the excitement of the industry, what it takes and why it is important to get on board with it.”  

Every year, the Royal International Air Tattoo donates profits to its parent charity, the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, who are on a mission to encourage young people to consider careers in air, space, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM).

One way in which they do this is through the Techno Zone, where youngsters and adults alike are given the chance to interact with the latest tech exhibits from a variety of organisations within the aerospace industry.

As part of their partnership with RIAT, Hybrid Air Vehicles will become a mainstay within the Techno Zone, and the former BAE Systems engineer says he hopes to see as many children as possible engaged in STEM.

He added: “STEM education is so important, they are such important life skills. When I think about it from an industry perspective, we want the best people from all walks of life to know about what we are doing and to know about the excitement of an engineering career.

“Being selfish, I want people to know the excitement of an aerospace career and the excitement of working on a project like Airlander. So, our STEM work is really important to us.

“We engage with schools, it is a key part of the work we do with the Royal International Air Tattoo, you’ll find us in the Techno Zone every year now as part of our partnership.”