Sunday, December 16, 2012
Big Engineering 51 Modern Airships
The Aeros rigid body airship uses a novel buoyancy management system to provide the ability to carry up to 66 tons of freight or passengers, with a range of 3,000 nautical miles, and the ability to land and take off vertically from any flat surface. Cruising speed is 110 knots, with better fuel economy than other aircraft with heavy lift capability.
....working with the US FAA on legal-technical-regulatory aspects of the craft before building a full-sized version.
.....With the Aeroscraft, there is a gas envelope above a freight chamber which reduces the buoyancy until the craft is 50 feet above the ground. Then you land it as you would a helicopter.
“The concept of the operation is absolutely new. When it comes in for a landing, say 100 feet or 50 feet and it touches the ground, at this moment you become heavier than air,’’ he says.
Using helium rather than hydrogen this will be much safer than a helicpoter or even traditional plane. It would take real talent to crash it at any speed.
This should mean that flight restrictions over built up areas would be far less onerous. I say "should" because government regulations normally ratchet only 1 way & such regulations are becoming the number one cost of doing business in many, possibly most, technolo9gical fields. The mention above of the FAA regulatory discussion supports the point that much, if not most of the failure to develop this form of flight is regulatory.
Craft like this will not replace long range aircraft because they are slower and because they have a large surface area which increases flying costs at high speed. However they could, even without the landing capacity of the Aeros be extrmely useful for pleasure trips or for carrying large loads, particularly large single unit loads.
"delivering 66 tons and three full trucks, in some scenarios, it can be more cost effective than trucks"
So it could be used to deliver entire prefabricated houses. Such airships were also postulated by Marshall Savage as a way of transporting the high protein seafood grown on an Aquarius floating island across Africa. A little thought will produce many more such uses, particularly where one would not be dependent on government infrastructure either because it doesn't exist - Africa - or because you can thus minimise government red tape - Euurope, USA.
As examples the Sahara, where there is a shortage of roads, would be easy to cross at 110knots. Equally where the problem is a mixture of ground and water - either swamp land or somewhere like the West Highlands where islands and Kintyre and the lack of harbours get in the way of ocean travel and ocean and the sea lochs which reach deep into the land, get in the way of land travel and mountains get in the way of everything would become for more accessible.
And for fans here is a link to the history of US Naval airships Macon and Akron.