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  • Giant Airship Going Civilian




    (Screenshot from Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander video on YouTube)

    A U.S. Army mega aircraft – a hybrid of plane, helicopter, hovercraft and airship- is going civilian.
    Designed by British design company Hybrid Air Vehicles for the U.S. military, this massive piece of next-gen tech can travel through the air at nearly 100 miles per hour.
    At 302 feet, the Airlander 10 is bigger than a Boeing 747 and its new big brother in development will be bigger than a football field. Airlander 10 can carry 10 tons of equipment and the company says these uber-blimbs will be able to circumnavigate the globe twice in one trip without landing.
    Designed to meet military standards, Airlander works in extreme weather conditions and doesn’t need a prepared landing zone. In fact, it can land on challenging surfaces like water, sand, snow and ice – making it an excellent option for delivering cargo to remote locations in tough conditions.
    With humans on board, it can stay aloft for about five days, but when it is unmanned it can stay aloft for weeks on end.
    http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/04/...ntcmp=features
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

  • #2
    Shades of der Hindenburg...(and the USS AKRON)
    Is this retro engineering? or a nod to steampunk aeronautics? Would such a large aircraft also be a large/easy target?
    Interesting though. Thanks for bringing it to the fore, MM
    ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
    IN MARE IN COELO

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    • #3
      A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jose50 View Post
        Shades of der Hindenburg...(and the USS AKRON)
        Is this retro engineering? or a nod to steampunk aeronautics? Would such a large aircraft also be a large/easy target?
        Interesting though. Thanks for bringing it to the fore, MM
        Airships were ahead of their time, technology has caught up with them... but that sort of foolishness is what is holding them back.

        Filled with Helium, they can't be made to explode. You could use that gas to put fire OUT, however, its inert.

        According to the blurb, this baby can carry 10 tons at 100mph, but that;s not the real kicker. It can do that and land & take off VTOL-style from an open field (unimproved) that ain't much bigger than the machine itself.

        Every summer, the sky where I live is made smelly and brown by forest fires that could be 100 miles away. Ten tons of water dropped from something that can hover sure would be welcome...

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        • #5
          I would say it has serious application in the extraction industries as well as construction. Being able to carry 10 tons of cargo, hover, and stay aloft for days means it could deliver equipment and materials to a remote site for an oil well, building a building, installing power lines, and such all without needing to build roads or leave a "footprint" outside the site.
          It could also act as a "flying crane" with a 10 ton capacity.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
            Airships were ahead of their time, technology has caught up with them... but that sort of foolishness is what is holding them back.

            Filled with Helium, they can't be made to explode. You could use that gas to put fire OUT, however, its inert.
            The USS Akron was filled with helium, the weather is what did her in.

            Concur with technology catching up, they will be able to avoid nasty weather.
            "I don't discuss sitting presidents," Mattis tells NPR in an interview. "I believe that you owe a period of quiet."

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            • #7
              Airships are already standard equipment for sports coverage of superbowls and such - the Goodyear Blimp - and these promise to do much more. Note the statement that this ship can stay aloft for weeks in an unmanned mode, making it an ideal surveillance platform for borders and such. Also note its claimed abvility to circle the globe twice on one journey!

              The biggest advantage that I see is the ability to go somewhere far out at sea, beyond the practical range of helicopters, and move a large cargo while doing it. Very practical for resupplying icebreakers and cargo vessels caught in ice, for example, and for supplying remote research locations even on mountain tops.

              Probably the nicest thing about one of these is its small noise signature and it's ability to deliver something without even needing to land.

              Personally I would really like to travel on one of these, slow enough and low enough to see the places I'm flying over, and not likely to fall out of the sky like an anvil the minute some kid turns on his Gameboy.
              Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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              • #8
                Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                • #9
                  A fascinating film, worth watching from a historical point of view.

                  Graf Zeppelin 1929 Around Globe Trip, Full Documentary:

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4jq7oRxw-g
                  "I don't discuss sitting presidents," Mattis tells NPR in an interview. "I believe that you owe a period of quiet."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nichols View Post
                    The USS Akron was filled with helium, the weather is what did her in.

                    Concur with technology catching up, they will be able to avoid nasty weather.
                    The weather did the Akron in because of her fragile construction. With modern super strong and light materials such as reinforced nylons, Kevlar, epoxies, and carbon fibers, the modern airship can remain more flexible and a lot tougher then those 30s counterpart.
                    “Breaking News,”

                    “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SRV Ron View Post
                      The weather did the Akron in because of her fragile construction.
                      It had nothing to do with the "fragile construction"

                      The airship was being flown into an area of lower barometric pressure than at take-off, which caused the actual altitude flown to be lower than that indicated in the control gondola. Around 12:30 a.m. on 4 April, the Akron was caught by an updraft, followed almost immediately by a downdraft. Commander McCord — the captain — ordered full speed ahead, ballast dropped. The executive officerLieutenant Commander Herbert V. Wiley — handled the ballast and emptied the bow emergency ballast. Coupled with the elevator man holding the nose up, this caused the nose to rise and the tail to rotate down. The descent of the Akron was only temporarily halted, whereupon downdrafts forced the airship down farther. Wiley activated the 18 "howlers" of the ship's telephone system, a signal to landing stations. At this point, the Akron was nose up, between 12 degrees and 25 degrees.

                      The engineering officer called out "800 feet" (240 m), which was followed by a "gust" of intense violence. The steersman reported no response to his wheel as the lower rudder cables had been torn away. While the control gondola was still hundreds of feet high, the lower fin of Akron had struck the water and was torn off.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Akron_(ZRS-4)

                      Originally posted by SRV Ron View Post
                      With modern super strong and light materials such as reinforced nylons, Kevlar, epoxies, and carbon fibers, the modern airship can remain more flexible and a lot tougher then those 30s counterpart.
                      If you go to the company's website that makes the new Airship, they specifically mention the new technology that keeps them from running into bad weather.

                      Super strong, light materials, nylons.......aren't going to help if hit by a forceful updraft and immediately followed by a downdraft.
                      "I don't discuss sitting presidents," Mattis tells NPR in an interview. "I believe that you owe a period of quiet."

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                      • #12
                        How many passengers could one of those carry? One thing that was dooming the zeppelin industry regardless of safety issues was the fact that they just weren't cost effective. Even with high ticket prices you simply couldn't jam enough bodies on board to justify the expense of operating the vehicle.

                        The fact that planes are faster and can haul more cargo means that the modern airship industry would be a niche market operating mostly as a novelty purchase. Pleasure cruise at altitude. but even then, you still need enough ticket buyers to keep the thing flying.

                        But if you can make it economical then this should be awesome.
                        A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nichols View Post
                          It had nothing to do with the "fragile construction"

                          The airship was being flown into an area of lower barometric pressure than at take-off, which caused the actual altitude flown to be lower than that indicated in the control gondola. Around 12:30 a.m. on 4 April, the Akron was caught by an updraft, followed almost immediately by a downdraft. Commander McCord — the captain — ordered full speed ahead, ballast dropped. The executive officerLieutenant Commander Herbert V. Wiley — handled the ballast and emptied the bow emergency ballast. Coupled with the elevator man holding the nose up, this caused the nose to rise and the tail to rotate down. The descent of the Akron was only temporarily halted, whereupon downdrafts forced the airship down farther. Wiley activated the 18 "howlers" of the ship's telephone system, a signal to landing stations. At this point, the Akron was nose up, between 12 degrees and 25 degrees.

                          The engineering officer called out "800 feet" (240 m), which was followed by a "gust" of intense violence. The steersman reported no response to his wheel as the lower rudder cables had been torn away. While the control gondola was still hundreds of feet high, the lower fin of Akron had struck the water and was torn off.

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Akron_(ZRS-4)



                          If you go to the company's website that makes the new Airship, they specifically mention the new technology that keeps them from running into bad weather.

                          Super strong, light materials, nylons.......aren't going to help if hit by a forceful updraft and immediately followed by a downdraft.
                          Lower barometric pressure would have caused the helium to expand and the Akron to climb, putting it at higher altitude rather than lower.

                          Windshear still brings down modern airliners today, so the Akron could not have been expected to do any better. What the Akron did not have was modern communications, radar, weather warning systems world-wide and modern flight instrumentation.
                          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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