Tagged With airships
There's a lot we can learn about Earth's atmosphere from studying Venus, however, it's Venus' crushingly thick air -- precisely what we want to study -- that is preventing us from sending manned missions there. But this radical zeppelin could finally help us unlock the secrets of our celestial neighbour.
Low earth orbit is becoming increasingly crowded with satellite traffic and, as Gravity showed us, increasingly treacherous. So rather than try to squeeze yet another spacecraft into the mix, a French consortium has begun development on a super-high altitude, autonomous dirigible that will skim along the edge of the stratosphere.
The HAV304 took the crown of "world's longest aircraft" with its inaugural flight today. The gargantuan spans a football field and towers just over two stories in height, owing its construction to pure metal. It sacrifices little in being the world's longest, as it still reaches 100 mph, which is triple that of the dwarfish Goodyear blimp. Further, it can stay airborne for just over three weeks (and hypothetically, if it could maintain its maximum speed for all that time, it would travel over 80,000km.)
Smithsonian's Around the Mall blog recently dug up an awesome FAO Schwarz catalogue from 1911, found over at the Internet Archive. It's filled with some pretty fantastic toys, including airship-themed board games, Kodak cameras, and carriages led by sheep. But these gifts didn't come cheap.
It's been nearly a century since airships floated by the Empire State Building. But now that the aluminium airship of the future is here and almost ready to carry passengers, it's high time that we took a look back to those few decades when majestic zeppelins seemed like the future of travel.
Zeppelins are actually quite an impressive species of aeronautical engineering -- you know, when they aren't on fire. That's especially true considering the level of technological prowess in the 1920's. Our friends at Oobject have assembled 12 shots of these magnificent air-borne cruisers before they ever lifted off.
The Ice Road Truckers may soon have themselves some competition if Canadian specialty aviation company, Discovery Air, has its way. They want to deliver supplies to the Great White North's most remote locales via dirigible by 2014.
This whale-like entry into KLM Indonesia's aircraft design competition reminds me of the French "Manned Cloud" concept from a few years back. The WB-1010 would seat more than 1500 people, and use a combination of super-jet, helium and wind power.
We first learned about Airship Ventures plans to bring airship travel back to the US after a 70 year absence back in May when they secured 8 million in funding for the project. Now it appears that their dream of filling the skies with huge, slow balloons once more will become a reality this Halloween when they will embark on their first ever passenger flight.
With soaring fuel costs and greenhouse gas concerns, zeppelins might get their second chance to be a relevant mode of transportation. According to the New York Times, several countries are now looking into developing dirigibles for transporting things such as sightseers, postal deliveries and scientific payloads. France's postal service, La Poste, seems to have some of the most ambitious plans in mind: using airships on routes between France and Corsica or the Antilles in an effort to reduce emissions.