Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Are Airships Commercially viable?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Are Airships Commercially viable?

    Okay, Arnold challenge accepted.

    Yeah, the first thing people think of is the Hindenberg. News flash; they don't use Hydrogen anymore. Helium can't burn. In fact, it can be used to put fire out.

    Now that we have that out of the way.... What do you all think?

    Passenger Airships are already flying, one does little day-trips over San Francisco. Meh, okay, that does not really count, but they could compete successfully with high-speed trains over mid-long distance trips. They don't have to follow the rails and can ignore water barriers like the Great Lakes or the Gulf of Mexico. They would also be more comfortable and spacious, the only snag would be in the weight of luggage allowable.
    Weight is the big issue with Lighter Than Air ships.

    Cruise airships have incredible possibilities. These big ships can also ignore land-barriers and don't need a port or an airport to land (more on that later) and can give you a view that no other ship can match.
    Could you imagine swimming in a glass-bottom pool at 2,000 feet over Niagara Falls?

    Cargo ships offer even greater advantages. Conventional aircraft become less efficient the larger they are. Airships become MORE efficient, and here is the kicker; Vertical take off and landing.
    Call me crazy, but a aircraft that can deliver cargo measured in hundreds of tons like a Helicopter can, that sounds very handy.

    And then there is the ground-docking side of it.
    Leaving out the mooring mast and sheds/Hangars, all you need on the ground is an unpaved area of flat, open ground about triple the length of the ships coming in. Say five times if you like, but the fact is that a grassy field is the ideal surface. It does not even have to be as perfectly flat as a landing field for conventional planes, just free of obstructions and clear enough to allow the Airship to swing with the wind if need be.


    The biggest problem with airships is their Sail Area. The Shenandoah was lost in Tornado Alley because there are certain times of year that you just shouldn't go certain places in an Airship.
    Akron and Macon were lost because of short-cuts taken in construction. You cannot go cheap with these things, the Sky is an even less forgiving environment than the Sea.

    So, is this a thing?
    27
    Yes
    33.33%
    9
    No
    22.22%
    6
    Maybe
    37.04%
    10
    I have no idea
    7.41%
    2

    The poll is expired.

    "Why is the Rum gone?"

    -Captain Jack

  • #2
    Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
    Okay, Arnold challenge accepted.

    Yeah, the first thing people think of is the Hindenberg. News flash; they don't use Hydrogen anymore. Helium can't burn. In fact, it can be used to put fire out.

    Now that we have that out of the way.... What do you all think?

    Passenger Airships are already flying, one does little day-trips over San Francisco. Meh, okay, that does not really count, but they could compete successfully with high-speed trains over mid-long distance trips. They don't have to follow the rails and can ignore water barriers like the Great Lakes or the Gulf of Mexico. They would also be more comfortable and spacious, the only snag would be in the weight of luggage allowable.
    Weight is the big issue with Lighter Than Air ships.

    Cruise airships have incredible possibilities. These big ships can also ignore land-barriers and don't need a port or an airport to land (more on that later) and can give you a view that no other ship can match.
    Could you imagine swimming in a glass-bottom pool at 2,000 feet over Niagara Falls?

    Cargo ships offer even greater advantages. Conventional aircraft become less efficient the larger they are. Airships become MORE efficient, and here is the kicker; Vertical take off and landing.
    Call me crazy, but a aircraft that can deliver cargo measured in hundreds of tons like a Helicopter can, that sounds very handy.

    And then there is the ground-docking side of it.
    Leaving out the mooring mast and sheds/Hangars, all you need on the ground is an unpaved area of flat, open ground about triple the length of the ships coming in. Say five times if you like, but the fact is that a grassy field is the ideal surface. It does not even have to be as perfectly flat as a landing field for conventional planes, just free of obstructions and clear enough to allow the Airship to swing with the wind if need be.


    The biggest problem with airships is their Sail Area. The Shenandoah was lost in Tornado Alley because there are certain times of year that you just shouldn't go certain places in an Airship.
    Akron and Macon were lost because of short-cuts taken in construction. You cannot go cheap with these things, the Sky is an even less forgiving environment than the Sea.

    So, is this a thing?

    1) wind is the kicker, most of the commercial airships lost were due to storms and such, now weather prediction and other nav aids are better, but there are still much more times when airships cant keep a schedule compared to heavier than air.

    2) Every little while the idea of commercial airships for hard to get to areas, such of logging is lauded in Popular Mechanics and such, but it never comes to pass. Don't know why all these endeavors go consistently belly-up, but ot must be the pure cost model of the idea.

    3) Helium is used, but the amount being produced is declining Yr-on-Year. While the amount available can support the few airships in service, its unlikely to be able to support a sizable expansion of the fleet (but they could go back to hydrogen).

    Comment


    • #3
      Ain't gonna happen....
      Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
      Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Krasny Strela View Post
        3) Helium is used, but the amount being produced is declining Yr-on-Year. While the amount available can support the few airships in service, its unlikely to be able to support a sizable expansion of the fleet (but they could go back to hydrogen).
        I read that there is likely a shortage of Helium in the future and that the remaining quantities are being reserved for super-cooling functions.
        ScenShare Guidelines:

        1) Enjoy creating it
        2) Enjoy playing it
        3) Enjoy sharing it
        4) Enjoy helping others create them

        The PlayersDB - The Harpoon Community's #1 Choice.

        FAQ http://www.harplonkhq.com/Harpoon/Fr...dQuestions.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Krasny Strela View Post
          1) wind is the kicker, most of the commercial airships lost were due to storms and such, now weather prediction and other nav aids are better, but there are still much more times when airships cant keep a schedule compared to heavier than air.
          Is keeping a perfect schedule really so important? If you are going to be 40 minutes late, or early, just use your cell and call ahead.
          And remember; a tail wind will get you there just as early as a head wind is slowing you down.

          And one other thing; no TSA, if I was running the show.
          There is also no logical reason for it; a craft like this would just bounce off a tall building instead of hit it like a missile.

          Originally posted by Krasny Strela View Post
          2) Every little while the idea of commercial airships for hard to get to areas, such of logging is lauded in Popular Mechanics and such, but it never comes to pass. Don't know why all these endeavors go consistently belly-up, but ot must be the pure cost model of the idea.
          Yes, and Cargo-Lifters of Germany also went under.

          It is weird and very counter-intuitive, but it looks as if Passenger service would have to lead the Airship's rebirth.

          Originally posted by Krasny Strela View Post
          3) Helium is used, but the amount being produced is declining Yr-on-Year. While the amount available can support the few airships in service, its unlikely to be able to support a sizable expansion of the fleet (but they could go back to hydrogen).
          Things go back and forth with that story, I just heard last night that the supply (separated from Natural Gas) is opening up again. Maybe the found a better cooling agent, but the info is contradictory.

          BTW- the Graf flew for ten years with Hydrogen with a perfect record... sort of.
          Sort of, as in not ALL of that was Hydrogen.
          I wonder how many people know that the mid-section was really filled with "Blau-gas".... that is, Propane. Its what they ran the engines on.

          -> ->
          "Why is the Rum gone?"

          -Captain Jack

          Comment


          • #6
            They have always been viable. The problems are that the weaknesses of design and vulnerabilities to the weather overcome any advantage, apart from possibly anti submarine warfare.
            "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

            Comment


            • #7
              http://zeppelin-nt.de/en/

              Heavy lift cargo for items difficult to move by rail or road or ship. Point to point would cut down a lot on time and infrastructure need.
              "Ask not what your country can do for you"

              Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

              you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

              Comment


              • #8
                They are rather majestic, but they are expensive to maintain, require a lot of space to store, and are at the mercy of wind and storms.
                Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
                Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

                Comment


                • #9
                  Aircraft are incredibly expensive to build, buy, service and maintain, require vastly expensive airports and guzzle huge amounts of fuel. The cost of AF One is said to be around $54,000 per hour of flight time.

                  An airplane crash often kills everyone aboard.

                  Aircraft can be hijacked and used as weapons.
                  Thanks to security, parking and all the rest, your plane trip takes to longer than it would to drive, and requires on average twice the actual flight time.

                  Aircraft are now designed as sardine cans for people, without regard to comfort, meals or the needs of the passengers.

                  Trains rarely go anywhere people need to go anymore, and the ones that do provide passenger service are subsidized at enormous cost to the taxpaying public who don't even ride them.

                  Trains derail, again destroying a lot of property and costing huge sums of money.

                  Trains need expensive right-of-ways and trackage that is constantly inspected and maintained, and trains consume enormous amounts of fuel. The fuel load for a single modern diesel locomotive is 10,000 gallons and it take seven of them to move a coal train one way.

                  Therefore, airships are just as viable as the other major forms of transportation, and have specific advantages over them as well.

                  If there is a market and a need, it will be met.
                  Last edited by Mountain Man; 07 Mar 17, 11:36. Reason: spelling error due to diplopia
                  Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I remember watching the Navy blimps operating in San Diego when I was a kid, later I lived near the Alameda LTA hangers. But at the time there were no blimps operating from them, this was in the mid 1970s.
                    The Goodyear blimp once landed about 1,000 feet from my parents house in the middle of the night during the Bob Hope Desert Classic Golf Tournament, this would have been 1967. It was sort of weird wake up and see this big blimp looking in the window!

                    Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
                    Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Something I forgot to mention earlier - airships have an extremely low environmental impact, among the lowest of all forms of transportation. If you are transporting things over a pristine rain forest or the Antarctic, for example, an airship is the perfect choice. No footprint at all.
                      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                        Something I forgot to mention earlier - airships have an extremely low environmental impact, among the lowest of all forms of transportation. If you are transporting things over a pristine rain forest or the Antarctic, for example, an airship is the perfect choice. No footprint at all.
                        Another thing the Greeies would love; the huge surface area means that this is the one (and possibly only) type of transport that could conceivably be solar-powered vehicle that needs no outside source of power.

                        The problem would be the cost. That flexible solar sheeting that NASA uses ain't cheap.
                        "Why is the Rum gone?"

                        -Captain Jack

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                          Okay, Arnold challenge accepted.

                          Yeah, the first thing people think of is the Hindenberg. News flash; they don't use Hydrogen anymore. Helium can't burn. In fact, it can be used to put fire out.

                          Now that we have that out of the way.... What do you all think?

                          Passenger Airships are already flying, one does little day-trips over San Francisco. Meh, okay, that does not really count, but they could compete successfully with high-speed trains over mid-long distance trips. They don't have to follow the rails and can ignore water barriers like the Great Lakes or the Gulf of Mexico. They would also be more comfortable and spacious, the only snag would be in the weight of luggage allowable.
                          Weight is the big issue with Lighter Than Air ships.

                          Cruise airships have incredible possibilities. These big ships can also ignore land-barriers and don't need a port or an airport to land (more on that later) and can give you a view that no other ship can match.
                          Could you imagine swimming in a glass-bottom pool at 2,000 feet over Niagara Falls?

                          Cargo ships offer even greater advantages. Conventional aircraft become less efficient the larger they are. Airships become MORE efficient, and here is the kicker; Vertical take off and landing.
                          Call me crazy, but a aircraft that can deliver cargo measured in hundreds of tons like a Helicopter can, that sounds very handy.

                          And then there is the ground-docking side of it.
                          Leaving out the mooring mast and sheds/Hangars, all you need on the ground is an unpaved area of flat, open ground about triple the length of the ships coming in. Say five times if you like, but the fact is that a grassy field is the ideal surface. It does not even have to be as perfectly flat as a landing field for conventional planes, just free of obstructions and clear enough to allow the Airship to swing with the wind if need be.


                          The biggest problem with airships is their Sail Area. The Shenandoah was lost in Tornado Alley because there are certain times of year that you just shouldn't go certain places in an Airship.
                          Akron and Macon were lost because of short-cuts taken in construction. You cannot go cheap with these things, the Sky is an even less forgiving environment than the Sea.

                          So, is this a thing?
                          As much as I WANT it to be a thing, its likely not. Luxury airships can serve up some serious glamor (though glass bottom swimming pools might challenge weight limits) but the problem is always financial. Airships don't have the passenger capacity or speed of modern airliners so that rules out transport. That leaves luxury cruising but since you can't fill an airship like a Carnival Cruise the cost of operation has to be absorbed by a smaller number of people which means higher ticket prices. You would have a small list of potential clients, wouldn't be offering as many gimmicks as cruise ships, and overall the cost of operation wouldn't turn enough profit to be worth it.

                          I'm not saying it wouldn't be rad as hell. I'd steampunk my way around the world in an airship if I could. But fiscally, it just doesn't work well.
                          A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
                            As much as I WANT it to be a thing, its likely not. Luxury airships can serve up some serious glamor (though glass bottom swimming pools might challenge weight limits) but the problem is always financial. Airships don't have the passenger capacity or speed of modern airliners so that rules out transport. That leaves luxury cruising but since you can't fill an airship like a Carnival Cruise the cost of operation has to be absorbed by a smaller number of people which means higher ticket prices. You would have a small list of potential clients, wouldn't be offering as many gimmicks as cruise ships, and overall the cost of operation wouldn't turn enough profit to be worth it.

                            I'm not saying it wouldn't be rad as hell. I'd steampunk my way around the world in an airship if I could. But fiscally, it just doesn't work well.
                            I hear you... but isn't that failing to take into account the fact that technology has caught up to the concept of Airships at last?

                            And.... I have taken a look at these 80,000-ton monstrosities that are floating around these days. I have to tell you, a 6-story mall with a pool and a rock-wall on top isn't my idea of high style... especially considering the crowds you have to put up with.

                            Hindenberg had about 100 people on it, go 300 feet longer you can triple the lift and therefore the capacity... say 200 people and 100 crew/staff. That's pretty good, and the cost of operating isn't so bad.
                            Remember; your engines are just pushing it along, not lifting the whole thing. The most expensive thing here is light-wieght materials, and that is an up-front cost instead of an on-going thing.

                            And about the weather;
                            In the mid-1920s Hugo Ekner delivered the Los Angeles ahead of schedule. How? There was a Hurricane up ahead of him. Using the reports, and this is 20's tech, he plotted the storm and used the winds on the edge of the storm to whisk his ship to New Jersey.

                            Don't lose heart; there is room in the world for something that isn't tied to a stopwatch and provides a more intimate, more tranquil setting.
                            I hope so, anyway...
                            "Why is the Rum gone?"

                            -Captain Jack

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Urban hermit View Post
                              I remember watching the Navy blimps operating in San Diego when I was a kid, later I lived near the Alameda LTA hangers. But at the time there were no blimps operating from them, this was in the mid 1970s.
                              The Goodyear blimp once landed about 1,000 feet from my parents house in the middle of the night during the Bob Hope Desert Classic Golf Tournament, this would have been 1967. It was sort of weird wake up and see this big blimp looking in the window!

                              Thanks for posting that! It should be good & interesting for people that don't have the basics yet.

                              And here is one about going around the world in an airship.... a LONG time ago!

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4jq7oRxw-g


                              "Why is the Rum gone?"

                              -Captain Jack

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X