A California company called Aeros is building what it hopes will be the future of flight. This next-generation airship was designed for military use, but the company's also planning a commercial version kitted out like a luxury cruise ship for passengers who want to travel in style.
Some decades back, if my memory serves me right, I recall reading that early in the 20th century, around time of WW1, Germany, for several years had the biggest wind tunnel testing facility. Later, the US began exhaustive wind tunnel testing/analysis on optimum and ideal airship (all aircraft) shape performance. Results have been published on US wind tunnel, etc studies that show the tradition, "classic" Zeppelin shape to be best design shape. Probably the best shape example for airship work/efficiency shape was that of the HM-R100. But basically, it is in the "ballpark" of that rather standard "classic" design.
Departures from the researched physics of airships, enter into a category of design known as "hybrid".. Hybrid designs have been less researched. But what is known is that hybridizing usually involves undesirable performance reductions such as requiring more dynamic, (energy consuming) factors as well as presenting undesirable handling/control issues, less prevalent in traditional cylindrical shape with the curved or tapering conical ends.
Airship hybrid designs will be less energy efficient than the established "classic" standard, will produce control/handling, phenomena that are not well studied and may not be desirable or manageable. The early 20th century produced libraries worth of documented scientific work that demonstrates that standard Zeppelin airship shape the most ideal for use. The good designs speak for themselves: HM-R 34, HM-R 100, The German airships, especially LZ 126 (which served for many yrs and was retired), LZ-127 retired after almost 10 yrs, and so on.
If private or public sector wishes to see results and success with more economical and safer air transport, it should first re-introduce the standard design, and go from there, for the most bang for the buck. A technologically updated standard design Zeppelin will perform for outstanding efficiency (and comfort) levels of performance, including outstanding payload capacity, compared to old tech. LTA.
Standard design, brought up-to-date traditional rigid airships- I'm just guess, of course, but I suspect that a modern up-to-date standard shape Zeppelin would produce mind-boggling results all the way around! For passenger use and for freighting. They just won't compete with super speeds of heavier-than-air. But, need for speed is over-rated, in my opinion.
For those of you who are not familiar with the quality of passenger accommodations that would be (conservatively estimated) available in large Zeppelin passenger service, overnight flights would provide roomettes similar to passenger rail or Amtrak, dining and other passenger common areas would be more spacious and diverse than rail, almost comparable to ocean ships.
I wonder how resistant to heat and flame the outer envelope is. Yes, I realize that helium is non-flammable and therefore this airship couldn't go down in a massive fireball like the Hindenburg did. Not what I'm thinking on.
While I appreciate the need to put ice-road truckers out of business and all, moving tons of cargo into inaccessible areas with far less risk than driving a truck on a road that is in a liquid state at least six months out of the year, I have to wonder if there might be other applications for the Aeroscraft. Emergency management springs to mind.
According to my calculator, 20,500 gallons is 2562.5 pounds, which is 1.25 tons, near enough. The Aeroscraft is meant to be able to lift 60 tons, Aside from the possibilities for survivor-rescue and airlifting relief supplies inherent in being able to land and take off vertically, hover in mid-air, and land safely on water, it seems to me that the people who fight wildfires might just be interested in a vehicle that could carry up to *48 times as much water as a 747* in one load, hover far above a blaze, and either direct that water downward to where it is really needed by means of high-pressure water cannons, or just dump it by gravity in one-ton deluges, hanging in there above the firefighters far longer than a 747 could manage before having to land to take on more water.
Modern technology Zeppelins, large rigid airships, could be made almost entirely of flame-resistant materials, but there will always be an issue of materials melting at high temp. Up to date Zeppelins' envelope covering or "skin" would be architectural Kevlar blend fabric. Super strong, light weight, UV/weather resistant, etc.. But with a low temp. strength threshold. Kevlar (aramid) begins losing strength when temps exceed 320 degree F. A heat reflective coating might give it increased protection.
At last some have guts to evolve & reinvent what we used to call Lighter than Air.
I believe there is already Freight business opportunities fort those. As it can delivers the cargo directly on the with spot no landing infrastructure needed.
Ya I agree with you. It could replace a segment of the airplane market but probably not for business travelers... I'd much rather look out and gaze across the earth's landscape while relaxing and and eating and/or drinking than look out at a little peephole of a window sitting uncomfortably in a plane. Although I've never been in a plane, that's what it looks like lol. But yeah et3 would knock out the airplane industry and significantly reduce the need for cars. The guys behind et3 estimate that at today's prices it would cost 50 bucks round trip to china and you'd get there in two hours at 4000 mph. Bullet train would be more of a niche market compared to that as well but even less of a market than say zeppelins. It would be pretty sweet
Hey Kim! My interest in LTA, mainly the traditional shape large rigid airship is niche market focused.. A passenger operation of such craft would not cater to practical quick, economy transport such as commuters, or time sensitive travelers, which is where a tube concept would fit in..Anything that is super fast, very cheap and safe should be looked into, of course. Tube sounds to me like it would fit into the same nice as bullet commuter trains...that is , fast, economical, environmentally positive, etc.. The niche of a large rigid airship operation would be focused on leisure cruise travel industry for sightseeing vacactioners, interested in observing/visiting spectacles of nature and cultural/social enriching travel, which, in terms of competing with surface cruise ship operations, would be significantly surpassed by airship cruises. So the niche criteria isn't about fastest possible safe speeds or visual scenery experiences.. Totally different ballgame, in my opinion..I'm all for R&D of all kinds of energy options and alternatives that should be perpetual and unending. As I'm a serious advocate of sustained, healthy (positive) human Porgress, it is never to our advantage to assume a point of view that all is done that can be done, rather seems like taking a "there is nothing more out there beyond the edge of the world" mentality. History has shown us that such a mindset is often neither the best nor the most accurate. We have only begun to scratch the surface on low cost carbon-capture energy source production technology..
you should check out et3 or evacuated tube transport. The oil companies already won, There's more oil estimated in america than saudi arabia. Also there's a lot of misinformation on ethanol fuel which is the best alternative biofuel for cars and vehicles. However with et3, basically pneumatic tube transport. there'd be less and less need for oil and airplanes both. Faster cheaper safer; cheaper to build cheaper to use. Making it economical to travel the entire planet should everyone jump on the bandwagon... Either way though, cellulosic ethanol from hemp one of the fastest growing biomass matter with 80 percent cellulosic content broken down into sugars then fermented is a very viable way for mainstream ethanol adoption as hemp can grow anywhere. Hemp isn't only crop but it's easy to grow and grows fast... Of course hemp would knock out the paper and cotton industries over night. This is why we need free-markets instead of crony capitalism...
+Leonardo Vila Verde
Well, Big serious HTA industries such as Boeing, Airbus etc are not industries that would be threatened by a boom in large rigid airship freight or passenger operations. The HTA industry niche is distinct and secure. In fact, HTA would fit right in and grow with all the logistics and everything. LTA airship freight operations would also fit-in and benefit from existing rail, maybe even boost it. The losers (justifiably in my opinion) are Big Oil, and ocean (surface) shipping, which is slow, environmentally harmful and guzzles big oil.. If fact, at this moment, there's a big cargo ship floundering off the US Pacific coast, if it breaks up, its fuel oil will cause severe ocean pollution problems, etc.. And when people book a cruise on an ocean going surface cruise ship, they sail in a fossil fuel guzzling ship...But if people were able to book airship cruises instead, they would be booking (buying) a tour trip that has an outstanding low carbon footprint impact, comparatively speaking. (Rather the opposite of surface ocean cruise ship). And airship cruise customers would probably get a much more more interesting cruise/travel experience since the airship would provide some serious natural scenery (while operating on extreme energy efficient, possibly carbon neutral biofuel).. Airship cruise/travel industry and airship freight industry could say "sayonara! to big oil consumption..
So if one were to pick a potential conspiracy suspect, I would start with big oil, and its cronies.
60 tons is already 1000 people, but it won't stop there, since technology marches on. There may be 100, 300, 500 tons of maximum load some time, but first this tech must start with something that will be safe and won't explode or fall spontaneously.
I think all hovering vehicles should have a buoyancy bag of helium. If you can spare the volume in your design there is no reason it could not add range and lift to heavier than air aircraft. I think these quad-copter auvs should incorporate the technology.
The 787 foot version of this ship can carry 500 tons. The airship has only 0.060 PSI, which means even with "holes" in it, it wouldn't deflate as the air pressure around it would seal holes, unless you have 10 foot wide holes, plus it has multiple "bags" inside. If you destroy one or two, you have others picking up the slack, you'd to destroy 1/3 of the lift to have much impact. These ships can hover in place while delivering cargo no need for airfields and/or infrastructure like planes need.
I am impressed, I think this new airship design makes good sense and has lots of possibilities. And 120,000 pounds (60 tons) is still a fair size cargo. If this airship can fly as fast as a helicopter, that is a good thing. Helicopters, among other things, are widely used as fast-response rescue vehicles. Remember this new design is still in it's infancy and will, more than likely, go through many stages of growth. On the other hand, we don't know what the military has in mind here, do we.
So it can lift 60 tons. An M1 Abrams tank weighs 67 US tons. This will not lift a single tank off the ground -- how is it going to be a war machine? I imagine it isn't hard to poke holes in it from enemy ground fire, so troop transport is out of the question. And airplanes can get civilians around 10x faster. I guess it's good for cargo. I can't think of anything else.
This is Igor's pie in the sky. It will not succeed. The mangement is schedule driven. The workers are underpaid and lack aerospace training. The ship is made from green glue and thin gussets. Major supplier is Home Depot. This is a hazard. Better informed the neighbours out front.
@toranderslarsen Sitting duck? Hardly. For one, it would fly out of range of danger, in secured airspace; for another, it's unbelievably durable(remember the helium, rigid hull and those three modes of lift?). Not to mention it would be neither slow nor defenseless- speeds similar to or exceeding a helicopter's, and a warship-like point-defense system. It's not unassailable- but nearly.